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Comment Re:Betteridge is actually wrong this time (Score 3, Interesting) 159

A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Thus, the recession is technically over.

This definition is fundamentally flawed. Under this, it is technically possible for an economy to decline indefinitely which never actually entering a recession. GDP change from quarter to quarter could progress like so

-2.0%, +0.1%, -2.0%, +0.1%, -2.0%, +0.1%, -2.0%, +0.1%, .....

Which works out at a -3.7% decline every year, but still technically no recession. This is what we refer to in the mathematical business as "absurd".

Unfortunately, this appears to be exactly how the political class across the Eurozone appears to doing. The continent is slowly imploding, but event one 0.1% quarter of growth is taken as proof that "The recession is over". The way the modern world is going, I'm really beginning to understand exactly how the Soviet Union operated on a political level.

Comment Re:It's much worse than that. (Score 2) 413

There is nothing you can do to defend yourself against an agency that knows everything you do. What are you supposed to do? Tell them no and hope they play nice?

I've said it once and I'll say it again. "Enemy of the State" is a movie that gets more scarier and more precient with each passing year. It's only a matter of time until a senator really is outright murdered.

Comment Re:We can't win without eliminating FISA. (Score 2) 413

The only way to win this is to get FISA eliminated. Without first eliminating the gag orders and the Star Chamber...I mean FISA courts, we cannot succeed on the whole.

You don't have to eliminate the gag orders. They're blatantly unconstiutional.

I see a lot of people taking the attitude of basically "wait and see" when it comes to these gag order. This is absurd in the extreme. All such actions do is reinforce the fear and thrid hand authority of these "orders".

The best thing everyone in reciept of such a gag order can do is publish or publisice it in the same way as any ordinary warrant served. They will try to prosecute, but in so doing they will have to put their law to the test. They don't want to do that -- yet. So, I'd hurry up and publish.

Comment Re:TED talk explains how the OSS philosophy applie (Score 1) 160

Drug companies don't have any "their" drugs. Scientists who works for drug companies do. The drug companies are the "generous benefactor" in the current scenario. Ditch the patents, change the FDA oversight to something closer to what you have for food... check production is as it should be, confirm what they are selling is what they claim and not something known to be dangerous. Then take away all legal immunity that is granted by going through the current process. Toss out grants and funding to encourage the efforts.

If scientists were working for themselves, pooling resources to get and share equipment and distribution lines. The money they make just being the first one to market with a drug would likely be much more than they are paid by drug companies.

Comment Alright then. Carry On. (Score 5, Insightful) 382

Oh I see. The man searched thinks it was all just a misunderstanding. I guess that makes it OK then.

I guess it also covers the costs in time, money, equipment and paperwork spent on a search that should never have happened. I guess it also makes up for any useful work the men involved could have been engaged in like looking for actual terrorists or investigating organised crime in the banks. I would worry about how the NSA's Ur-dragnet/Informer hotline is throwing up so many false flags that law enforcement is now too busy to deal with actual problem, but this splendidly chipper blog post had allayed all of my concerns.

I'm glad that's all cleared up then.

Comment Re:Heard this one before (Score 1) 37

Or that the commercial entity which ends up with the technology wants to get the most they can out of it commercially and release it as slow incremental improvements that put them just a little ahead of their competitors over and over again for years. If they go full on and put in the money to dish it out all at once they get a single big leap over their competitors for the time it takes their competitors to adopt said technology as well and then they have nothing else to release to answer back.

Comment Re:Can any government really stop BitCoin? (Score 1) 185

Though you can't run to local retail outlets and buy with bitcoin yet you can definitely buy plenty of things with Bitcoin. There are auction sites, sites with electronics, bitcoin gateways for amazon purchases, and of course drugs/black market items.

Bitcoin is anonymous in the sense that no address is tied to a person unless the person is dumb enough to create that association. That the addresses and their transactions are traceable is by design. A simple coin tumbler will break that association if you are going the other direction, buying at a broker and then purchasing anonymously. Even if you do this the lamest way, buy 50 coins on address A and transfer all of them to another non-broker address B. There is no way establish if you or a third party you were paying controls address B.

Comment Re:Dear God (Score 1) 124

Skilling's Enron sentence was cut from 23 to 14 years recently. It'll probably be reduced further before he serves his remaing 8 years. I estimate he'll be out on parole in 10 years.

When you think of the sheer amounts of money he could have been skimming off during Enron's "golden years", I'd consider 10 years a pretty good deal.

Comment "Ratfucking" (Score 4, Insightful) 96

A similar dynamic of student-election "dirty tricks" graduating into general election bugging and sabotage of election opponents played out during the Watergate scandal. Donald Segretti cut his teeth in election fraud during his USC days, and later applied his skills in Nixon's reelection campaign, the resulting "Muskie letters" effectively knocking a democratic senator out of the campaign. Karl Rove came from the same school of campaigning.

These incidents are as perfect an example of "Broken Window Theory" in politics as you are likely to come across. "Shenanigans" in college, if left unchecked, lead inevitably to outright election fraud. If you permit criminals to train their skills, operate unpunished, and indeed enjoy the rewards of their misdeeds, they are unlikely to change their ways in a hurry.

On a related note, I regard most student politcs in universities as a wholly illegitimate process. The resulting bodies and persons do not represent the student body or its values. At best, they organise drunken festivals and serve as a training ground for the corrupt and incompetent cadre currently in charge of the western world.

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