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Comment Archaic Leftover? (Score 1) 62

We inherit a vast majority of our genes and genetic patterns from our archaic forebears; in humans, many of these older systems are turned off, in effect. This is not news. What use these genes may have had in extinct life forms hundreds of millions of years old is open to question, as is the potential evolutionary usefulness of reusing simple cellular material. In other words, single-cell organisms or those made up of semi-specialized groups of cells may have used these genes to "come back to life" if and when external conditions allowed. If the presence of these inactive genes in modern animals causes no ill evolutionary effect, they may remain in our DNA, doing their work after the possibility of evolutionary change goes away in biological death.

In a sense, biological death may precede biochemical death by quite a long time.

Comment Apt Comparison (Score 1) 224

...(T)heir computer works for them just like their car works for them. Yes, they need to learn to drive, but they don't need to learn how to fix the engine.

Just so. Except when cars were new inventions, drivers *did* have to know how to do basic non-driving things like fixing flats, repairing failed parts and, indeed, fixing the engine. When photography was invented, camera-bugs had to know about chemistry and optics, exposure and light values, etc. And when computing was new, people had to know how to troubleshoot them and work on the commandline.

As e e cummings said, "progress is a comfortable disease."

Comment Re:Why worry about credit cards? (Score 1) 64

I don't disagree with what you say, but I would like to add something in defense of debit cards: they do not go on your credit record. I try to stay under the radar as much as possible. Financial people call me a "ghost" as I have no credit history. Zero. And I like it that way.

Comment Re:Why worry about credit cards? (Score 2) 64

I'm not liable for any fraudulent charges made with my card, and reporting mis-use is the work of a few moments (unless the bank notices it first and notifies me, in which case its even less work for me). A replacement card will be in my mailbox in a few days.

Is it a minor hassle to update the card number on file with various merchants I do business with? Certainly, and I'd rather such a situation if possible, but it's a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.

That's the theory set forth by the banks; as someone whose cc info was compromised, it's not that simple. The "refund" on my debit card was conditional on the fraudster not contesting the removal of charges. Although the corrected balance appeared on my statement, the funds could be removed were the fraudster to appeal within 90 days. If I were to spend the funds on things like rent or food, I might get hit with overdraft charges if the appeal were made.

So, not only did I need a new debit card account, with all that entails, I needed to find out which merchant defrauded me, and the funds in question were frozen (practically speaking, unavailable) for months.

That was eight years ago; to this day, I have not (and will not) purchase anything from eBay (from whom the card info probably was sold) and there has been no repeat of fraud.

Buyer beware: eBay is not secure like an integrated retailer. Your cc info is probably more valuable than the meager profit the seller may realize on your "bargain."

Comment Re:The problem was deception (Score 1) 86

Oddly, I just downloaded irfanview; I was surprised to see that one of the download mirrors was for tucows, which I had used regularly twenty years or so ago not only for windows programs but also for Linux ISOs (or, probably, diskette images). Time moved on and so did I when they introduced deceptive ads and such, so I went to the home page link with some trepidation. There was a large, green download button listed first, so, out of habit with such sites, I picked another.

The download went well, and the installation did not include other offers or defaulted toolbar selections.

I may go there again.

Comment The Other Alternative is not good, either (Score 1) 243

The internet will be a less free place when there is only one browser and one search engine (in practice), one video upload site, one mobile OS all produced by a company with a "do evil when the shareholders demand it" policy

While I agree, I don't see Mozilla in its current incarnation being a viable competitor to Chrome. It's unfortunate, but it is only one of many experiments in not-for-profit organizations, technical and otherwise, becoming obsessed with politics over product or service.

Perhaps this is a human foible; those whose interest is in setting goals for others often seem to find a way into management of non-profits, using the bottom-up philosophy of management, while for-profits' goals are set by directors who represent bankers and come down from on-high, using job-insecurity as an enforcement tool. Bankers don't change their goals, typically, over time, while not-for-profits' goals can change on a whim, apparently, if enough people back that whim.

There must be a synthesis hiding somewhere....damned if I can find it, though,

Comment Re:Junk food (Score 3, Interesting) 123

This is an important principle described in a fascinating BBC series .

In essence, we've been voting for junk political candidates for decades now, so they must be what we want.

No wonder we (the "civilized world") are brain-starved as well as overfed and undernourished.

Comment Re:Is it time for a class action? (Score 1) 387

You are correct. Let me put it in context for those who missed the conviction of Microsoft of illegally maintaining a monopoly. They were found to have stacked the deck against many competitors, among them Netscape, which made browsers. Without much delay, Microsoft's conviction sent the NASDAQ plummeting to about 20 per cent of its peak.

Microsoft is now in the same position, but this time, the Justice Department is likely to be in friendly Republican hands next year, so prosecution is unlikely. Even if Sanders should win, however, the economy cannot take another shock like the 2000 crash, so Microsoft may feel free to do its will.

They refuse to compete on the basis of quality, relying on marketing tricks to maintain dominance. Windows 10's free upgrade offer is the true definition of a Trojan Horse: Let it inside your gates and it will attack in the middle of the night.

Comment To Clarify... (Score 2) 442

I am sorry you think it is unhelpful; I intended to put it in historical terms. In context, though, to be fair, Mussolini said this before Hitler came to power. His was an Italian Fascism, and, as you say, it was based on brutality. Nonetheless, it is his definition, and it explains to me how, once fascists achieve power, they are corrupted by it.

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And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.