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Comment Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (Score 5, Informative) 371

I just read through it, and T-Mobile's deal is basically a 0% APR loan with a down payment and fixed $20/month payment, on top of your monthly service charge, for however long it takes to pay off the principal (depends on the price of the phone).

Any competent lender is going to provide you with a contract which spells out what happens when the loan ends, what happens if one or both parties terminate early, etc, and in T-Mobile's case, the loan is contingent on maintaining carrier service, and the remedy is full payment of the balance. Otherwise, people will just quit and get a $600 phone for the price of a $99 down payment.

Similarly, most new auto loans may be contingent on maintaining a service of some sort, like full coverage insurance. I think Washington State's AG has his head firmly implanted betwixt his butt cheeks, since any non-retard should easily tell the difference between the pay up front no-contract, month to month deal, and the other one which includes all kinds of disclosures as to the fact they're agreeing to a loan... But whatever.

Comment Ooh! Got one! (Score 1) 203

Kind of a dark horse, but how about Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality?

The actual science is clearly delineated from the magic. The mindset it's trying to inculcate is a really useful one to be able to enter.

Just don't make 'em think it resembles Harry Potter, because I don't think it does.

No sex, but it's not likely to be endearing to people who don't believe in questioning authority. And it is unabashedly propaganda for a certain way of thinking.

Comment Re:The good stuff is all old (Score 1) 203

I agree with the parent on the Heinlein juveniles. There's actual science in there, particularly bits of Newtonian physics. Somebody mentioned "Have Space Suit, Will Travel", which would be a good choice.

I'd have no problem with my kid reading "Accelerando", but I'm not sure a middle school teacher could get away with assigning it. There's the whole BDSM rape scene and all.

I'd say Greg Egan, but he'd definitely be for advanced middle schoolers only. The problem with him is that he tends to either throw you into a world so weird that an inexperienced science fiction reader may be completely lost, or assume that you already know "real science" at a university level and build from there. Maybe Vernor Vinge?

Don't forget popular nonfiction. Some of it can be entertaining.

"Ender's Game" has zero science, and "Hitchhiker's Guide" has negative science.

Comment Apparently I've read it better than you have (Score 4, Interesting) 153

It says they CAN clean it if they WANT to... to whatever degree the sharing entity considers to be "appropriate". So if some "protected entity" or "self-protected entity" hands something over, it can restrict downstream sharing. It can require whatever anonymization it wants, including no anonymization if it decides that no anonymization at all is "appropriate".

Who's a "protected entity"? Hint: not you. "an entity, other than an individual, that contracts with a cybersecurity provider for goods or services to be used for cybersecurity purposes.".

Excuse me if I don't believe that every "protected entity" or "self-protected entity" has my best interests at heart.

Comment Re:Yeah Right (Score 1) 542

I'm not sure how to answer the first question. The best that I can say is except for whatever the eye-witnesses saw or the police know, the details are mostly speculation.

I can say this from personal experience, though: more often than not, people who don't have experience with stress-inducing situations are like dumb sheep when confronted with violence. If someone were to yell "Oh my god he's stabbing people!" 4.5 out of 5 people will turn around on the spot and stare like an idiot until the gravity of the situation finally sinks in, which is usually sometime after the melee is over. The remainder will have the wherewithal to retreat or retaliate.

Comment Re:Yeah Right (Score 1) 542

As Crocodile Dundee pointed out, there are knives, and then there are knives.

Regarding the recent spree stabbing in Texas involving 14 victims, it's said he used an x-acto type hobby knife, i.e. among pointy things it ranks pretty low on the danger scale. As much as I've researched, I've never been able to find what sort of blade the most recent spree-stabber in China used, for all we know it was something equivalent. Prior Chinese nutters used kitchen knives and cleavers, and many of their victims didn't fare so well.

Comment Re:Is this not your local net police? (Score 5, Insightful) 238

Yes, the practice's security affects the hospital's. Your security affects mine, too, and in fact the security of everybody on the Internet affects the security of everybody else.

Nonetheless, it is not legal, ethical, or appropriate to go around attacking somebody else's systems without their explicit permission. It doesn't matter if you provide them with network service. It doesn't matter if you have (perhaps unwisely) given them access that makes them a potential threat to you. It doesn't matter if you're the "big" network, or if you have more to lose than they do. It doesn't matter if you feel you're "responsible for the whole network". It doesn't matter if they're completely incompetent and overrun with malware.

If you don't have advance permission, and you attack somebody else's system. you're in CFAA violation territory. And if you didn't get that permission in writing, you're an incompetent idiot.

This isn't the wild, wild west. Your motives do not matter. The effect on your own security does not matter. End of story.

Comment Re:I'm surprised... (Score 1) 424

You could block it farther down on the hammer, slide the block up from the bottom so that the slide can move around it, or even make the block be sprung in such a way that it can slide back with the slide while remaining engaged.

In fact, all modern handgun designs do pretty much exactly that. That kind of safety is a mechanism which prevents unintentional discharges due to dropping or ramming into random objects. This safety is only disengaged when the trigger reaches the end of its travel, and it exists on revolvers and semi-autos alike. Many such firearms also have another layer of safety on the trigger, if they don't have a manual safety.

The truth is this: we can all sorts of layers of security to a handgun, to the point where the only thing it can't do is reliably propel a projectile down a length of tube, when its owner wants, err, NEEDS it to do so (seems to be a goal of some legislative bodies). And that's why every modern school on the use of defensive handguns looks down on safety levers and other such things as vestigial organs, of sorts.

The type of pistol the GP mentioned was a M1911, which gets its namesake from the year it was adopted as our military's sidearm, in other words, over a hundred years old at this point. There have been hundreds of thousands, if not millions such pistols owned across the US, since the time my Grandpa's balls dropped. Even if we could make all new guns so they could only be fired after being blessed by the Pope on the third Wednesday after Venus and Jupiter conjoin with the blue moon, it wouldn't do a damn thing to remove the old ones from the marketplace.

The only workable solutions are 1) get people to leave dangerous things they don't understand the fuck alone 2) not put the dangerous thing where people exhibited in #1 can easily access them, or 3) educate people on the proper handling of dangerous things, at such a time as they can maturely handle it, because even if we'd rather have the situation otherwise, our environment is full of hazardous and dangerous things.

Comment Re:Majority of NRA funding is from corporations (Score 1) 424

Hahaha, wow. Even if someone isn't a friend of the NRA, and they completely disagree with what they represent...if one were to take this article from an objective stance and compare it to reality, it's a complete load of shit. I had to laugh at this this paragraph in particular:

Since 2005, the gun industry and its corporate allies have given between $20 million and $52.6 million to it through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program. Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, etc.

As a customer of theirs, it should be pointed out that Midway USA is mentioned first only because their customers are given the option to round up their bill to the next dollar, or specify a small donation. That pocket change is accumulated across a multitude of orders, and is pooled together and sent to the NRA. The check they write as a result of these myriad micro-donations is sizable, to say the least.

Anecdotal: I for one elected to do just that on most of my dozens of orders over the last 7-8 years, even though I wasn't a member of the NRA for most of that time.

The best part, however, is this: they use a seven-year period to inflate this number, and make it look like these companies are coughing up seriously BIG bank, disregarding that consumers themselves are directly responsible for a sizable chunk of that number.

Do the math: If we assume their numbers are right, over those last seven years, 53 Million dollars accounts for...get this...a whopping 3.1-4.5% of the NRA's total revenue over that same period, at best (that revenue being 1.1billion to 1.6 billion dollars, the median being somewhere in between), and the ads they sell in their magazines account for approx. another 10%, as admitted in the article.

So, let's be very generous and say corporations foot the bill for 20% of the NRA's tab. That's funded primarily by corporations, how, exactly?

Comment Re:Maybe... (Score 1) 1121

Well, my primary point is that the study does in fact mean something and the sample is reasonable. I don't have a lot of investment in the "why" part.

But you can continue your reasoning as long as you want, and end up never being able to say "why". Even if you have video of postal workers throwing away packages selectively, you never know why they did it.

Personally, I'm comfortable saying that this is a strong indication that some human beings somewhere mistreated packages because of the labels.

By the way, that does not mean that I think Christians (or any religious group) are more likely to do things like that than atheists.

I actually suspect (with the full understanding that these data do not say anything about this suspicion) that any package with a visible and potentially controversial label is more likely to get lost or delayed than a package without one. I would expect packages with tape with crosses, or stars of David, or "yay Obama", to get lost more than packages with no tape, because they will attract attention from random people who might dislike their messages. The control packages here had no tape at all.

I will admit that I would expect "atheist" packages to get lost more than "cross" packages, but that's just because there are more non-atheists than atheists, and therefore more chances for an "atheist" package to be handled by an anti-atheist person. If you equalized the numbers of atheists and Christians, you might get similar amounts of lossage for "cross" packages.

Comment Re:Maybe... (Score 1) 1121

Oh, one more point. The study is NOT based on the assumption "that packages sent on the same day will arrive at the same time". It's based on the assumption that any variation in delay should not preferentially affect packages with "atheist" tape if nothing fishy is going on. The issue isn't that all the packages didn't arrive at the same time; it's that the "atheist" packages systematically arrived later... if they arrived at all.

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