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Comment A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (Score 5, Insightful) 111

But, I really don't have all day to do this so just to cover a few of the points: If the energy shields could only stop energy and not physical materials from entering, then the rebel shield makes sense. The Star Destroyers are too massive to get below the shield without crashing to the planet and yet all of their weapons are ion or energy based. So you have to transport in ground troops and walk them in. If you believe in the future that energy is cheap and mass is expensive, then the energy shields make more sense. You might have physical bombs on a fighter like a Y-wing with proton torpedoes but a Star Destroyer that might need to be out for years would never need to reload if they have cheap energy to power their systems.

Also, the article asks why Vader didn't bomb out the base. One explanation is that he senses Luke is inside and it's his duty to turn Luke over to the Emperor. Another explanation is that they're dug in too far and they don't have the bunker busting utilities on the ATATs and ATSTs.

He flies into an asteroid belt — which somehow the Imperial Fleet had failed to account for when planning its hasty “blockade” — and the Falcon has defied the odds.

I would have guessed that since the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid belt are so low (as threepio notes) that the blockade used that as a natural barrier like you would a mountain or sea in an earthly battle. When they flew into it, nobody was expecting them to opt to be blown up in an asteroid belt and they reluctantly gave chase.

Yeah, I know, I'm the life at parties and this is all done tongue in cheek but I could probably come up with apologetic responses. I'm actually really glad that Lucas didn't decide to have meaningless strategic dialogue of Tom Clancy proportions so that we could all follow why every little thing was happening. I've read fantasy books by authors with military backgrounds and the battles get tedious -- though very informative.

Comment This Is Beyond Inane & Changes Nothing (Score 5, Insightful) 232

Okay so I read this rebuttal and I stand by my earlier position.

From my understanding, the group made a good faith offering of ronpaul.org to Ron Paul for free but wanted $250,000 for the commercial ronpaul.com in order to recoup the work and effort they put in. On top of that, I see nothing malicious, untruthful, slanderous or libelous on ronpaul.com -- quite the opposite! So this is how capitalism works, I have something you want and I have come to own it by legal means so it doesn't matter if it has your name on it or not. I'm sure they could drum up another person out there named Ron Paul if you want to play that game. Now, with all that said, the only option in a libertarian world is to either pay that sum, get a different URL or tell your followers to stop going to ronpaul.com. Turning to any -- and I mean ANY -- higher power to subvert that desired price is, by definition, appealing to a governing body to impose some form of regulation. And the only reason is to subvert the sale and tendering of cash from your hands to the party who has due ownership and control. Ron Paul says "Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society." And this is a directly contradictory action to that maxim whether he is a private citizen or not.

Ron is not using the State to acquire RonPaul.com. He could have brought a lawsuit in US government courts, but he did not.

Just because you use another arm or governing body instead of the official United States government does not mean you aren't using the State.

He is seeking to have ICANN enforce its own rules against cybersquatting, including the rule against registering a famous person’s name and making money off it.

Wait wait wait. I'm confused. You see, you're using the R word and your calling it a "rule" but I think the word that Ron Paul and most libertarians like to use is "regulation" and then they spit because it leaves a dirty taste in their mouth. What is the difference between rules against cybersquatting and government regulation? What is the difference between the New York Times using Ron Paul's name to sell newspapers and this site printing facts about him to make money? This isn't about what is right and wrong, this about the convenience of owning a domain. Ron Paul even has a different official domain, is this site parading around purporting to be the official Ron Paul domain? No? Then what exactly are your allegations?

Anyone registering a URL agrees to keep all the rules, just as he must pay a recurring fee. A URL is not private property in the normal sense. It is a license, and ICANN is a private, non-profit organization.

Wrong, ICANN was created to assume their responsibilities under a United States Department of Commerce contract. Haven't you been following the news where the rest of the world wants the US to give up control of ICANN? They act on the US Government's behalf. And in a libertarian world there would be no rules. Money and the free market would set the rules. In a free market you would have a whole bunch of different DNS registrars and lookup services. You could pick whichever one you liked the best. They would be for sale as entities. Big corporations could just pay them to change their DNS records to point resolution of weaker companies to their websites. When you typed in a URL it could go wherever the money tells it to go and if you don't like that, you might change to OpenDNS or someone else -- if they exist. But everyone has a price in a libertarian world. Rules are regulations and regulations are bad in a libertarian world. End of story. Rules ruin the free market. Regulations ruin capitalism and they are a hallmark of socialism.

Ron is not calling on the UN. ICANN has four approved arbitration organizations. Because the RP.com guys registered Ron's name in Australia, the international arbitration option must be used.

What part of tendering $250,000 in exchange for a domain don't you fucking understand? That option is comparatively government free!

This fight is not about so-called intellectual property, since it involves private agreements. But if it were, must one agree with Murray Rothbard--who discussed IP more than 50 years ago--to be a libertarian? I agree with Murray, but IP is hardly a make or break issue. Certainly Murray did not see it as such. In the same sense, one need not be an anarcho-capitalist to be a libertarian, though, like Murray, I am one. One can be a constitutionalist or otherwise believe in limited government. Oh, and need I note that Murray loved and admired Ron?

I'm sorry, you've lost me here. So some dude I never heard of had a man crush on Ron Paul? That's backing up your argument?

Is Ron "attacking his own supporters" by his action?

Look, dude, this is the last of Libertarian problems. Hell, after reading "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand, I assume all Libertarians attack each other. I've seen Democrats eat their own, I've seen Republicans eat their own, I just think that Libertarians are more open about it. They answer a dog eat dog world by openly consuming each other. In a libertarian world there are no police, just everyone packing heat. So you better have the balls to pull the trigger and inflict your sense of justice. If I ever meet a nice Libertarian that is genuinely concerned for others, full sympathy and overflowing with empathy, I'll eat my hat.

Comment People Forget About Iraq's Marshes (Score 5, Informative) 228

Yeah, I know it sounds stupid but Saddam Hussein drained 7,700 sq miles just to try to flush out people during the first gulf war. Before that the British had tried to drain all that fresh water out of there to stop the breeding of mosquitoes. Which, in the near future, is going to be looked back upon with disgust.

I don't think people yet understand or truly appreciate how much destruction they can bring to ecosystems. I wish conservation was given more respect than treating advocates like tree hugging hippies that have no clue about industry and economy. The area between these two rivers was once so lush and full of life that it was thought to be the origin of the Garden of Eden myth.

Comment Are You Confusing Afghanistan with Iraq? (Score 1) 583

So the US is ending their occupation of Afghanistan again?

Where on Earth did you read this? Are you confusing Afghanistan with Iraq?

Like they did the last few times they announced a "full withdraw"? The only thing I find more amazing than official US propaganda is that most people seem to believe it.

[citations needed] on the "last few times" and I'm almost certain that they never have announced a "full withdraw" (why do you even bother using quotes on that phrase). Actually, it's really hard but if you read the summary he announced the removal of 34,000 troops. Removing 34,000 != "full withdraw"

Seriously, are you ripping on him for something no one ever said? It's really hard to talk about "Official US propaganda" when you're muddying it up even further by imagining crap.

Comment Horrible Analogy (Score 5, Insightful) 583

There was a certain King Canute who went to the beach one day and ordered the tide to stop flowing. I can imagine Obama's ideas and efforts will have exactly the same effect.

Your analogy is terrible. History and other countries have shown that industry and consumers don't give a shit about the environment. And that goes for both capitalistic and socialistic societies. We've shown in the past that government regulation can fix things like CFCs and the pollution of drinking water so what's so batshit insane about proposing we fix this with regulations?

Your analogy would work if King Canute had previously ordered a lake to split in two and it had worked.

While he's at it he should make tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes illegal.

I don't know what this is? Some throwback to that bullshit logic about gun control? I guess people are still being murdered so we should revoke all the laws outlawing murders? I mean, when murdering is outlawed then only murderers will have the ability to murder people!

It's not about controlling the weather. The weather is a symptom of the problem of spewing tons and tons of carbon and greenhouse gases into the air and environment. So he's tackling the root cause of the problem, not making a symptom illegal ... is this some new parroted right-wing narrative you're getting from Facebook or something?


Submission + - North Dakota Proposes Ban on Natural Gas Flaring after One Year (bismarcktribune.com)

eldavojohn writes: A North Dakota lawmaker has proposed a bill that would ban flaring at oil and natural gas sites after one year of that site's operation. ISS footage has revealed that now large swaths of North Dakota are illuminated at night due simply to flaring from Bakken oil and natural gas drilling. Democratic Sen. Tim Mathern, proposer of the bill, said "It’s bringing a higher quality of life to western North Dakota, it’s putting an end to waste (and) it’s addressing the issue of climate change" and "This is taking a, what I’d call, a step-wise approach in addressing health and waste." In 2011, waste from global flaring equivocated to a fourth of the United State's natural gas consumption. The major difference between this bill and current law is that no exemptions whatsoever will be made. Mathern claimed that 30 percent of natural gas is flared in western North Dakota compared to the national average which is in single digits.
The Military

Submission + - North Korea Conducts Third Nuclear Bomb Test (reuters.com)

eldavojohn writes: A magnitude 5.1 earthquake was detected and it was confirmed by the DPRK to be a third nuclear test. KCNA news claims that the test was safe and cited the threat of the U.S. for conducting the test saying, 'The test was carried out as part of practical measure of counteraction to defend the country's security and sovereignty in the face of the ferocious hostile act of the U.S. which wantonly violated the DPRK's legitimate right to launch satellite for peaceful purposes.' RT is posting a feed of the many condemnations from governments and organizations.

Comment Pick an Emphasis On or Interdisciplinary Degree (Score 5, Insightful) 347

I think a lot of colleges offer degrees where you do "Computer Science with an Emphasis on X" but looking at one of my alma maters I see that it's moved to a kind of "flavor of the month" thing (game environments?). This usually leaves room for you to pick other courses. Another thing is that sometimes they offer interdisciplinary courses but you really have to be worth your salt to cut it in these areas (I guess they're close to a double major) so for example I can pull up MIT's page and see "Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Molecular Biology".

Honestly if I could go back I would seriously consider dumping the "Emphasis on Artificial Intelligence" and switch from Computer Science to Computer Engineering. However, I also heard that your whole schedule is often picked for you in that degree so I never would have been able to take the two semesters of music theory or extra calc and physics courses ... so you know, there's something to be said about breadth and figuring out what you want to do.

Now to directly address your questions:

I want to be a web developer, and everyday I ask myself the same question: why am I wasting my time getting a computer science degree?

Because someday when your server is hacked and you're doing a post-morten on a Linux machine you'll be glad your professor beat it into your head how that operating system works? Because JavaScript is really easy to write but for some reason it's killing mobile batteries when people visit your site and you need to understand what O(n^3) means on the client side? Because at the end of the day it's just math and logic that you're coding and that's the basis for a computer science degree? Because if you can't communicate clearly, your coding skills won't mean shit in a team environment? Etc.

I want to start my web development career now. Or at least as soon as possible. I can drop out and devote 6 months to teaching myself, but I want something more structured. Something that has the benefits of a classroom and an authority figure, but which teaches me exactly what I need to know to do what I want to do. Any suggestions?

This is kind of like a Catch-22, yeah? You don't want to stagnate yet you want to be taught in a form that naturally stagnates? Dude, the libraries like node.js and backbone.js are moving too fast to solidify into a course. You just got to suck it up and absorb an autodidactic methodology from college and move forward with that, ready for anything that gets thrown at you.

Also, not to be a dick but if you're bursting at the seams with talent, get on github, rip open an account on Heroku or buy a cheap VPS for $50/year and show us what's up. We're waiting to be blinded by your brilliance :-) That can all go on your resume, you know.

Comment Pull Your Head Out of Your Ass (Score 5, Insightful) 542

People are still making references to the mythical Great Catholic Altar Boy Molestation Conspiracy Project?

Oh the "mythical conspiracy project"? Hmmm, let's see from the laundry list of cases we find:

In July 2010, the Vatican doubled the length of time after the 18th birthday of the victim that clergymen can be tried in a church court and streamlined the processes for removing "pedophile priests."

So they streamlined a process to cater to a "mythical conspiracy project?"

People like you are what's wrong with organized religion and one of the primary reasons of why I am atheist. The people that run the Vatican and those in the past that have stood up and protected that power structure at all costs are fallible mortals. Shut up and deal with it or I'll throw you in with Scientology.

And all those cases have dried up, right? Right? If you give money to the Roman Catholic church, that's what you're paying for, in part.

Comment Simply Could Not Fulfill His Duties (Score 4, Funny) 542

It became apparent when he was supposed to move a priest who had been indulging in altar boys to the Diocese of Ogdensburg in New York where they would have a trial and could pay off the families but instead he moved him to the Diocese of Owensboro in Kentucky where, upon discovery, he was lynched and killed without a trial. At that point, every God Fearin' Holy Roman Catholic altar-boy-molesting priest in the world feared the Pope could no longer shield them from mortal justice and so it was clear he had to resign his post. It's been long rumored that Cardinal Vincent "Big Vinnie the Silencer" Mastrantonio will be the successor and be able to invoke the Holy Spirit to "keep those quiet who don't want their kneecaps busted in over here over there."

Comment Welcome to Capitalism (Score 5, Interesting) 611

There was a catch, though. It would be part of a "liberty package" with the site's 170,000 person mailing list for... wait for it... $250,000. They think the price is totally worth it

That's the funny thing about Capitalism ... wait for it ... the market decides what the price should be. And right now, they have a very unique piece of property that will cost whatever they want to sell it for because they ... wait for it ... own it! But, you know, let's clamor and argue for the defunding and dissolution of the UN right up until it benefits us personally. This is a very surprising and disappointing action from Paul -- a politician who once rarely (if ever) contradicted himself.

From the horse's mouth:

We must stop special interests from violating property rights and literally driving families from their homes, farms and ranches. Today, we face a new threat of widespread eminent domain actions as a result of powerful interests who want to build a NAFTA superhighway through the United States from Mexico to Canada.

We also face another danger in regulatory takings: Through excess regulation, governments deprive property owners of significant value and use of their properties – all without paying ”just compensation.”

Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society. Without the right to own a printing press, for example, freedom of the press becomes meaningless. Congress must work to get federal agencies out of these schemes to deny property owners their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.

Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society unless the property we're talking about are domain names that you feel are yours, right Senator Paul?


Submission + - In 2011, Fracking Was #2 in Causing Greenhouse Gas in US (businessweek.com)

eldavojohn writes: According to Bloomberg, drilling and fracking results in greenhouse gases second only to coal power plants in the United States. From the article, 'Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011, second only to power plants, which emitted about 10 times that amount.' According to Mother Jones, we now have more giant methane fireballs than any other country in the world and we can now see once dim North Dakota at night from space.

Comment A Smear Campaign Is a Smear Campaign (Score 5, Insightful) 513

Is it a "Smear Campaign" if it's true?

Well, it's not entirely true. I think most people consider the definition of reading to mean "looked" at and that it is implicitly a human that is reading your e-mail in this case. The eyes superimposed in the first video imply this. What's actually happening is that your e-mail is being loaded into memory and parsed to build an index associated with some key that is associated with you and that is being stored. This data is then used to serve targeted ads. Do you really think that a person is involved at any point so far? Do you really think there's a Google employee looking over raw table data and rubbing one out when he sees that "ky jelly" is associated with user 57234765235 at a rate of 0.0054% of the time with a high precision value? Really? Show me a mail service provider that neither loads your e-mail into memory (alias "reads" it) nor stores it in a database and I'll show you extraterrestrial beings.

Pretty "slanted" summary, but I guess this is Slashdot and the story is about Microsoft.

Really? Where are Google's commercials of equal proportions? I guarantee you they would make for a story just like this.

Now, who's more evil? Google or Microsoft? Hard to tell around here sometimes...

Just because one evil is smearing another evil of less, equal or greater proportions doesn't make it not a smear campaign! This is exactly what it is! Disingenuous advertising meant to unduly spread uncertainty and deceit! How does Microsoft detect spam? The same damn way!

Comment It's Quite Disingenuous (Score 5, Insightful) 513

Google does scan your emails for keywords. That information may be stored or revealed in any number of ways.

I think it's more than a bit disingenuous because the video has this person's eyes superimposed over your e-mail while mischievous music plays in the background. We all know that it's not a person reading the e-mails, it's software doing latent semantic indexing or some such algorithm.

They might not be lying but they are deceiving. Tell me how my Hotmail knows how to classify incoming e-mails as spam again? OH! You're running a Bayesian classification algorithm and building word statistics out of my e-mail?! They're reading my e-mails! Cue judging eyeballs over my e-mail with corny music.

Note: I'm not defending Google but I'm pretty sure that some type of software runs some sort of algorithm on your e-mails if you go through any reputable major e-mail provider. Hell, my debian postfix server is attached to a bunch of algorithmic open source programs to do just that!

Comment How Does Germany Beat Chinese Pricing? (Score 5, Interesting) 644

They mentioned briefly that the US tried to subsidize solar but the Chinese kept undercutting our manufacturers and we just couldn't beat their prices. What is Germany doing differently that allows them to beat Chinese prices? Tariffs? Import restrictions? Why does that kind of market manipulation work for Germany and why do we allow subsidies to happen in the states but not that sort of competition restriction?

Oh, right, they have more sun ... which still doesn't answer how their solar products compete with the Chinese. I like how they named dropped 'natgas' several times because the US has so much of it! No problems worth mentioning about natural gas!

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