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Comment Re: Disagree. (Score 1) 354

Owning a firearm has nothing to do with essential personal freedoms or rights of the individual to exist in a free state. The only justification for it is to protect oneself from infringement on said freedoms, but that can just as easily be done through strong laws and a properly functioning government.

That is completely wrong. Individually owned firearms are used between 600,000 and 2 million times per year to protect their owners from a crime in progress. Their right to life and property in those cases were only preserved by owning that firearm and not by "strong laws and a properly functioning government." Owning a firearm, in additional to protecting against government tyranny, also helps preserve people's right to life.

... and I find the concept that citizens with a few guns could hold their own against the american military-industrial complex a bit of a farce to begin with.

All the second amendment gets your country is the highest per-capita gun violence rate in the western world. It hasn't gotten you anything else.

Apparently you have never read any history of the US in armed conflicts after WWII. The second amendment has little to do with our gun violence rate. There are other countries with higher per-capita firearm ownership which have much lower rates of firearm violence. The US has a violence problem due to many factors which are too difficult for Congress to address in easy sound bites. The fact that a portion of that violence uses firearms is incidental and not caused by the existence of the firearms.

Comment Re:USPS Where are you?? (Score 1) 378

All this revenue that could be pulled by the one time largest shipper in the US, but for some reason, they keep losing billions a year.

No, they aren't "losing billions a year."

It just looks that way, because the USPS is the only government body that's required (thanks to Congressional legislation) to fund ALL retirements and pensions through the next decade.

If it were allowed to be ran like any other government agency, the Post Office would actually be doing OK.

Is this the same as saying, "If it were allowed to pretend to pay its bills like any other government agency, the Post Office would actually be doing OK."?

Comment Re:As I warned about previously (Score 1) 548

Yeah, it'd be cool if someone wrote a short story about the dangers of ebooks and digital rights being taken a little too far -- censorship, criminal sanctions for sharing books, and how it would stifle learning. Something to help people understand where this could go. I suppose it's probably about fifteen years too late to do any good, now.

Will Climate Engineering Ever Go Prime Time? 281

coondoggie writes "You may or may not be old enough to remember the TV commercial for margarine that had the tag line: 'It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.' But that commercial came to mind as I was reading a report out recently that looked at the viability of large climate engineering projects that would basically alter large parts of the atmosphere to reduce greenhouse gases or basically reverse some of the effects of climate change. The congressional watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office took a look at the current state of climate engineering science and technology (PDF), which generally aims at either carbon dioxide removal or solar radiation management."

Comment Regressive Tax (Score 1) 1306

A mileage tax would be regressive, harming especially rural people and the rural poor. Most cities have some sort of public transportation that can be used to get to work and thus avoid a good portion of a miles traveled tax, not so in rural areas. On the other hand, rural salaries tend to be lower and commuting distances longer with no option for public transit. This would be especially hard on agricultural workers who can often barely afford a car in the first place (but couldn't work without one), but would now also be asked to pay mileage taxes on top. Vehicle mileage tax is inherently unfair, in my mind.

Voyager 1 Beyond Solar Wind 245

healeyb noted that Voyager 1 has now reached a distance from the sun where it is no longer able to detect solar wind. Launched in 1977 to get up close and personal with our solar system's gas giants, scientists estimate that in another 4 years it will cross the heliosphere.

Animal Farms Are Pumping Up Superbugs 551

oxide7 writes "The philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once famously said, 'That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.' That may or may not be true for human beings, but it is certainly true for bacteria. The superbugs are among us and they are not leaving. Indeed, they are growing stronger. 'The problem is that the animal agriculture industry makes massive use of low-dose antibiotics for growth promotion and in place of effective infection prevention methods,' Young said, adding that the farm animal population is much larger than the human population. The low-dose antibiotics do not kill the disease. They make the disease stronger, more resistant to those and other antibiotics. The animals — the cattle, pigs and chickens — thus treated become superbug factories. The diseases stay in them and they wash off them to infect the surrounding environment."

Boeing Gets $89M To Build Drone That Can Fly For 5 Years Straight 271

coondoggie writes "One of the more unique unmanned aircraft concepts took a giant step toward reality this week when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency inked an agreement with Boeing to build the SolarEagle, a plane capable of remaining at heights above 60,000ft for over five years. Boeing says the first SolarEagle under the $89 million contract could fly as early as 2014."

Comment Re:No faith (Score 2, Informative) 453

I used to feel the same until my current job doing network/server consulting. Now I often go to places that have a full-time IT person who has no certifications, and am shocked by how little they know. I feel like if they had at least gotten a basic server certification they would know what file and directory permissions were and why they are good, rather than looking at me with a blank stare

Comment Re:64-Bit (Score 3, Interesting) 1213

The main reason, in my mind, to upgrade is being able to effectively use 64-bit machines fully-

This. The main reason to upgrade to Win7 is for 64-bit. Unfortunately, it's also the main reason to put off upgrading. While we haven't had too many issues with software and 64-bit (though there are some), the main problem has been with peripherals. In our IT shop, none of the PC card or USB NICs that we had have a Win7 64-bit driver. Only one of our USB to Serial adapters has a 64-bit driver. A customer has handheld scanners for their warehouse -- no 64-bit driver. Same issues with printer drivers. So in addition to the training and workstation hardware issues related to upgrading to Win7, some companies may have significant issues with drivers for peripheral hardware.


"Lost" and the Emergence of Hypertext Storytelling 170

Hugh Pickens writes "The TV series 'Lost' involves a large cast of characters marooned on a tropical island after a plane crash, with episodes that thread lengthy flashbacks of characters' backstories with immediate plots of day-to-day survival and interpersonal relationships, and a larger 'mythos' involving the strange and apparently supernatural (or science-fictional) happenings on the island. Independent scholar Amelia Beamer writes that the series works as an example of a recent cultural creation: that of the hypertext narrative. 'In Lost, the connections between characters form the essential hypertext content, which is emphasized by the structure of flashbacks that give the viewer privileged information about characters,' writes Beamer. 'Paramount are the connections unfolding between characters, ranging from mundane, apparently coincidental meetings in the airport, to more unlikely and in-depth meetings, reaching back through their entire lives and the lives of their families.' Beamer writes that the series also pays tribute to video games, another relatively recent interactive means of storytelling."

New England Prep School Library Goes Entirely Digital 168

An anonymous reader writes to mention that Cushing Academy has decided to leap into the future by getting rid of all the books in their library and going completely digital. Instead of dusty stacks, the library is spending close to half a million dollars to install all the hallmarks of a digital learning center. Flat screen TVs, "laptop friendly carrels," and a coffee shop are just the first step in building an area that allows students access to millions of books as opposed to several thousand. Of course, not everyone is completely sold on this move: "[Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of the American Library Association] said the move raises at least two concerns: Many of the books on electronic readers and the Internet aren't free and it may become more difficult for students to happen on books with the serendipity made possible by physical browsing. There's also the question of the durability of electronic readers. 'Unless every student has a Kindle and an unlimited budget, I don't see how that need is going to be met,' Fiels said. 'Books are not a waste of space, and they won't be until a digital book can tolerate as much sand, survive a coffee spill, and have unlimited power. When that happens, there will be next to no difference between that and a book.'"

One Crime Solved Per 1,000 London CCTV Cameras 404

SpuriousLogic writes "Only one crime was solved for each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year, a report into the city's surveillance network has claimed. The internal police report found the million-plus cameras in London rarely help catch criminals. In one month CCTV helped capture just eight out of 269 suspected robbers. David Davis MP, the former shadow home secretary, said: 'It should provoke a long overdue rethink on where the crime prevention budget is being spent.' He added: 'CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness. It creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security. The Metropolitan Police has been extraordinarily slow to act to deal with the ineffectiveness of CCTV.'"

Comment Re:August (Score 2, Insightful) 1146

I'm surprised by the number of friends I have who have marital problems because they didn't talk about important things before they got married. Or they talked about them, realized they would about them, and so stopped talking about them, figuring they would work it out later. Bad idea.

1) Money. The largest contributor to failed marriages. How are you going to deal with it? One bank account? One each? Three (two personal accounts and a shared account for shared expenses)? Remember that it's important for each of you to be able to spend some discretionary money on things like coffee, lunch and a more substantial amount on gifts. No one likes to have to ask for money each week. And do you really want to have to ask for $200? "What do you need it for?" "Oh, I wanted to get you those earrings you wanted as a surprise birthday gift." Discuss how you are going to deal with major expenses. If you buy a house, are you going to spend every last bit of your discretionary income to get the fancier house? Or are you going to not exceed 30% of your income so that you still have some breathing room? How much will you save every month? What if someone wants to go to school or quit work to take care of a baby? These are the things that kill a marriage later. E.g. Couple buys expensive house. Can't afford to save any money. Husband continues to charge expensive toys for himself because he feels "poor" if he doesn't. Wife is exasperated. Husband must work overtime every chance he gets, so he feels exasperated too. Both wonder if they married the right person.

2) Kids. Don't say you want them if you don't. Be honest now or miserable later. How do you want to raise them? Do you want a parent to be able to stay home and raise them? Are you willing and able to make those sacrifices? When do you want to have them? Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars for fertility treatments if necessary? How will you discipline them? What kind of schooling? Will you raise them in a religion? Discuss this issue thoroughly and honestly.

3) Communication. Others have already said this one, but it is huge even if cliched. If you can't talk about things opening and honestly with each other, one or both of you are doomed to misery. Hopefully you already have this down if you're affianced, but lots don't. You've got to be able to bring up difficult topics with your spouse and have to know that your partner will be able to listen objectively and discuss rationally with you. If you're afraid to bring up a topic because of you're partner's reaction, that's bad and a potential trouble spot waiting to erupt. Likewise, if there are any topics that you have an unshakeable position on, you'd better be sure that your partner really agrees with you and isn't just afraid to disagree. At some point something (like a child) may make her stick up for her own beliefs which end up diametrically opposed to yours. This usually ends badly.

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