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The Military

Researcher Warns That Military Must Prepare For "Mutant" Future 179

Researcher Patrick Lin says that with the development of a wide range of technologies including: drugs, special nutrition, gene therapy and robotic implants, the military needs to plan for a future where soldiers have "mutant powers.” From the article: "If we don’t, we could find ourselves in big trouble down the road. Among the nightmare scenarios: Botched enhancements could harm the very soldiers they’re meant to help and spawn pricey lawsuits. Tweaked troopers could run afoul of international law, potentially sparking a diplomatic crisis every time the U.S. deploys troops overseas. And poorly planned enhancements could provoke disproportionate responses by America’s enemies, resulting in a potentially devastating arms race (PDF)."

Comment An issue of education (Score 1) 451

This is a classic issue of where your customer base has broadened to the point where your users are not coming from a point of high education/information about your product and free software models of business.
As difficult as it seems, you need to be patient and spend some time educating this new segment of your customer base. If people are downloading the software from a website or source you control, make sure to have a big, bright, and happy notification that explains how your product is supported. I'm suspecting that your software is available from many sites you CAN'T control, so it might behoove you to have a big, bright, happy notice as part of a splash screen during install or startup. In your case it would be completely inadequate to expect people to read any "click to agree" dialogs, and you might simply need to put what amounts to a banner ad for your phone support in any help menu or dialog.
As much as we hate the ubiquitous advertising in our products, you have not simply an interest, but practically a duty to inform your users the specific details of how you perform support. Make sure that anywhere your support number is mentioned, you also mention your fee-for-service or contract support model so you can weed out all but the most stubborn non-readers.
If you have a media person, or a team member who generally responds to postings on message boards, make sure that they are sending a consistent, measured response that avoids emotional flags and simply states your company's position and your business model.

Comment Re:Rigged, because of the presidential debate (Score 1) 402

My kneejerk reaction was to think "Oil companies want an 'R' to win so they make prices high while a 'D' is in office." But then I realized that this was baseless without some facts. What I would like to see is a map of the US showing average gas price by state, overlaid by a map of which states tend to vote R or D, overlaid with refinery locations, overlaid with oil producing states. Then, I would have a lot of data, and still nothing to go on but correlation.


Comment Advanced directives are a must (Score 4, Interesting) 646

My mother died last month. She was a physician who worked primarily with elderly patients in nursing homes so for her losing a patient was a regular occurrence. She had a bad bout of pneumonia and her lungs were not recovering, so I had to make the hard choice whether or not to put her on a ventilator in order to keep her alive. My justification was that the respirator would only be used for a short time in order to give her lungs a chance to heal and recover. When it became apparent that she was not recovering, I had to make the decision to remove it and allow her to die naturally (it took less than an hour).
My mom did not have an advanced directive specifying what kind of care she wished to receive if she were unable to choose for herself. This made my decisions very painful and difficult. I remembered the conversations I had with her about her caring for her own patients and how sometimes the families of her patients would request extreme measures at the end of life, and how this would contrast with borderline neglect during the patient's life.
My mom also was opposed to assisted suicide. That much I knew. She felt life was a gift that shouldn't be wasted or rejected.
In my mother's case, it was clear that if she were to survive she would need to be on the ventilator for an extended period of time, and enough time would pass that she would deteriorate physically due to being immobile in a hospital bed. Also, she was in the early stages of Parkinson's and it was almost a given that this violent shock to her system would result in an acceleration of its effects.
Knowing that if she did recover her quality of life would be greatly reduced, I made the tough choice to let her go. One advantage of this was that I was able to hold hand, stroke her hair, and sing to her as she died surrounded by family. She was 73. I encourage everyone regardless of age to set up an advance directive determining the level of care they wish to have. It wouldn't have prevented my situation, but it would have made it easier if I knew ahead of time what mom wanted.

Comment But the nose is undefined... (Score 4, Informative) 254

Sure, saying my rights end at the end of my nose etc. makes for a good soundbite but the problem is that especially with digital media you have large monied interests who get to define their own nasal boundaries. SOPA is a good example where the mere implication that someone is TOUCHING MY CORPORATE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY'S NOSE can have far reaching penalties without any actual proof that there was harm done.

Comment A good start... (Score 4, Insightful) 129

You know, what really needs to be done to keep military contractors from defrauding the government, and thereby the US taxpayer is to start prosecuting cases as treason rather than slap-on-the-wrist fines. Every dollar that these parasites siphon from the DoD is a dollar less defending the US from legitimate threats, or at least a dollar less that the American people should be taxed. In these times of tight budgets and the prospect of painful cuts to both civilian and military programs, we should pursue those who seek to cheat the US military and treat them no differently than we would someone who is providing material aid and comfort to those who wish to do us harm.
An organization that had no problems charging the Air Force for 'work' done by someone that they knew was simply an empty desk shows an absolute disregard for the taxpayers and the brave men and women in the military who serve to protect the US by putting themselves in harm's way. IMO this company got off easy when they should have faced the corporate death penalty.

Comment 350 degrees for 25 minutes, turning once (Score 1) 240

Um... is fast twitch muscle fiber more, uh, tender when cooked? I'm just asking... and how early will we know which children have more of it? Can these kids maybe have some kind of labeling system so that if some of them come near my cave or cross my bridge I'll be able to recognize them?
I'm really wondering if children gifted with more this kind of muscle fiber would be better stewed or roasted.
Thanks for taking the time to answer, I know that we trolls have a bit of a bad rep on the internet due to a certain subspecies. We're not all bad guys, some of us just want to catch and eat children, not ruin your enjoyment of message boards.

Comment Indigenous Rights (Score 2) 251

I am an indigenous aboriginal person and any grant of mineral rights should include compensation to my tribe (the "Humans") as the moon is our collective property and any use of it could potentially damage it and affect its prominent role in my culture. The moon features prominently in the traditions of my people from dances (the Moonwalk) to courting and romantic rituals (the honeymoon) and cuisine (cheese). I propose that any private commercial venture be submitted to approval by vote by a base majority of my tribe (7 billion+ members) and that revenues from any commercial venture be distributed equally to each member.

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