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Comment Re:Conversion to foot (Score 4, Informative) 125

Having thought about it, guessing he was talking about 5,200 meters with the thinking that in certain places in the world, they use a comma rather than a decimal point to represent the division between partial units. In that case, 5,200 metres = 5.200 meters = 17.0604 feet = 17,0604 feet in that particular case.

But Everest Base camp (either south or north, both on a fairly broad area) are most certainly not a handful of meters above sea level.

Comment Re:Irrelevant (Score 1) 280

Gun free zones are free killing zones. Every mass shooting I can recall, except one, happened in a gun free zone. [...] When armed good people are present someone might still get killed but it's also quite certain the murderer will be among the people shot.

The problem with non-uniformed civilians carrying guns is that they cameoflage the bad guys. If you see a person carrying a gun in a place where nobody routinely carries a gun, you call the police because something is wrong. But if lots of people carry guns all the time, you end up either raising a lot of false alarms, or risk allowing a shooter to get to his victims and start shooting before anyone knows to stop him.

IMO if we're going to have people around carrying guns to keep the public safe, those people should be professionally trained and in uniform. That minimizes the "is that armed guy a good guy or a bad guy?" problem.

Lucky for us, the bad guys are happy to follow the requirement that they walk around brandishing their gun so that we know they're one of the bad guys.

Really, there are two problems here. First, an unequal balance of power. Bad guys can and will get guns. "Good guys without guns" sounds a lot like "victims". Second, lack of police coverage. If police were everywhere, I would be more inclined to say that civilians have no need for guns (except to protect against the police, but that's a philosophical issue), but I'm not interested in paying the taxes to support that.

Also, it's not like there couldn't be a training requirement to have a permit to carry a weapon, as opposed to owning one. Given your sig, you're from Canada. We already have possession permits. Do you really think it's so difficult to have a higher standard for a concealed carry permit? Many places in the states (perhaps all that allow concealed carry) have a licensing requirement, which appears to have a training component.

Comment Re:of course... (Score 1) 280

You can not, but for an entirely different reason that has nothing to do with technicalities of airport-side implementation. In Israel, this kind of thing exists because it had to evolve because of a real existential threat. If you replicate this methodology to an environment that does NOT have such a threat - that is, to any country that isn't Israel - it will not work. How are you going to train airport security personnel if there's no century of experience with specific tactics, and no national security mechanism? Americans seem to think they've got it rough because NSA may have been reading their emails. In Israel, there is a national identity database, which includes references to relative, and every person has a number. Let me give you an example. I went to a bank for a bank-signed deposit for my landlord. The teller asked for the landlord's ID number to be put on the writ. I called him on the cellphone and asked, repeating the number aloud. Then I asked him to repeat it once again to be sure. By the time he finished, the teller had, read this, a printout with his phone number, address, face, and situation in the debt registrar. Remember the assassination of Hamas chief in Dubai? It was blamed on Israel, but nobody in the world paid attention to the fact that the copy of national identity database HAS BEEN LEAKED TO TORRENT SITES EVERY YEAR FOR A DECADE, and it occured to nobody that the stolen identities of Israeli citizens that the assassins used could've easily come from there. And now they are adding a biometric component to the national identity database that so far has failed basic security requirements ("biometric database" here being Excel files over plaintext HTTP).

In Israel, we can tolerate this invasion of privacy, and ethnic/racial profiling, because it would be suicide not to resort to it. But nobody else should marvel at it, and nobody else should try to replicate it. It is something we have by necessity, not because we were sitting around on our collective zionist assess contemplating what to do and somebody was all like "Hey! I know! Let's make the most awesome, invisible and efficient racial profiling system in the world."

I beg you all to not advocate it.

TL;DR The US doesn't need to do what Israel has done because the threat isn't significant.

Comment Re:the problem with OpenOffice (Score 1) 211

Poor backward and forwards compatibility? Really?

I recently opened a few documents with Word 2011 on my Mac that were authored with whatever version of Word that was available on Windows 3.1/3.11. After a quick conversion, they loaded perfectly. I regularly send and receive documents with a friend who is still running Office 2003 on XP, again, no problems at all.

Without an idea of what is in the files, it's hard to say how relevant this is. You can effectively use Word as Notepad with a nicer interface. You can also use Word with piles of macros, multi-level formatting, custom styles, and that weird font you downloaded 8 years ago. One will be likelier to convert from one version to another than the other will.

I'm not saying that you're presenting a specious argument, but one of the tricky things in this discussion is determining which feature MS decided to update between one version of Word and another, and whether that will cause a conversion to break. But if I was going to make a work-alike of Word, I'd take special note of the features that tend to fail on conversion, and pay extra attention to them when I make my conversion routines. After all, if the producer of both versions of Word has trouble with conversions between them, I should take that as an indicator that it requires special effort. And it looks good for me.

Comment Re:Picotechnology (Score 1) 40

Yep, printing food is a bad idea. Until you have a von Neumann machine, the big point is to use it to make a von Neumann machine. Once you're there, the exponential benefits of transistor design can be realized on the macro scale. Then making a pizza becomes a trivial process. Of course, then the big trick is not turning the whole world into pizzas.

Comment Re:head transplant, or body transplant? (Score 2) 522

Yet no one has designed an industrial pump that can perform at the level the heart does ... with the energy usage a heart has, for as long as it has.

So in short, no, no they haven't made something 'better' than a human heart in any way.

Show me a 120 year old unserviced pump please.

Better to say: So in short, no, no they haven't made something 'better' than a human heart in every way. Which really is what matters for us.

Comment Re:No, it's a franchisee getting sued. (Score 1) 1103

When I'm in the car and want some cheap, fast, gut-filling goodness, do I say to my wife "Do you want to stop at McDonald's?"

Which is exactly what franchising is all about - leveraging the brand name for marketing. Which absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how a particular business owner handles payroll.

But it should have everything to do with how the franchiser, McDonald's, responds to this PR nightmare. Deal with the current clown, set franchise regulations to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Comment Re:jurisiction issues? (Score 1) 458

No, the FBI is all over the world. They are the primary criminal investigation unit of the US government. Most of their work occurs in the US, but embassy bombings and the like fall under their purvue. The CIA and NSA, and the millitary are not law enforcement agencies. The FBI has a wide reach. I think it was an FBI agent who questioned Saddam Hussein after his capture.

You realize that embassies are considered to be soil of the nations they are embassies for, right? By definition, any bombing of an American embassy occurred on American soil.

Comment Re:anti-sex ad policy? (Score 1) 192

Which is why I have been saying for years America needs to grow the fuck up. America, the country where you can't show a tit unless it has a knife buried in it and where we nearly impeached a POTUS for getting a BJ, it more than time for us to grow the fuck up and stop pretending that Leave It To Beaver was an accurate depiction of the 1950s.

I don't care about seeing tits on TV. I care about other people deciding where and when I or my kids can see tits (or anything else) on TV.

As for propriety in our national leaders, I suggest we go for a more European stance. Oh wait. That said, at least Berlusconi wasn't banging subordinates, and banging someone who was at the age of consent in many western nations (hell, it isn't even illegal in Italy).

Comment Re:36 million units sold in 2011 (Score 1) 528

6 million packs in a year is 1 out of 50, or 2%, not 0.05%. It's still not a lot, though. Not only that, that Wikipedia article doesn't even say that the sales are US-only. You'd think Twinkies are sold worldwide. The world population is 7 billion, so that's 0.1 percent.

So it's entirely possible that this time 99.9% of the people are right. I'm impressed!

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