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Submission + - US army blames lost computer files for part of accounting nightmare (reuters.com)

Bruce66423 writes: "DFAS also could not make accurate year-end Army financial statements because more than 16,000 financial data files had vanished from its computer system. Faulty computer programming and employees’ inability to detect the flaw were at fault, the IG said."

Overall the report indicates that the army's accounts are massively fudged, and has been for years. The question is: Why has the executive branch failed to address the issue, and why hasn't congress ensured compliance with basic standards of behaviour. Meanwhile blaming the loss of computer files is the resort of the IT incompetent.

Comment Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (Score 1) 399

Which is the quick reply. The fact that you never hear from your mother or your child doesn't prove that they don't exist. They may have stopped communicating, or you aren't listening.

Given that if God does exist He will require major changes in your life, then it's not a surprise if you choose to interpret the data that is there to exclude the possibility of His trying to communicate with you. If you are insistent that He doesn't exist, then nothing will convince you.

The best single piece of evidence is the resurrection of Jesus. Those who try to prove it didn't happen by engaging with the evidence tend to get convinced it did. Of course those who rule it out a priori - dead men don't rise from the dead therefore Jesus didn't rise from the dead - need to be aware of the impossible things that many generations of scientists have denied as possible, only to see them come along.

Also it is totally irrational to be confident that somewhere among the stars there is no race whose technology is such that if we encountered a member of the species, it would seem to be a god to us. We are nowhere near equipped to make that search; to assume to know the result is foolish!

Submission + - Obamacare enters the death spiral? (nytimes.com)

Bruce66423 writes: There was a lot of concern when Obamacare was established that the sick would receive mandatory coverage, raising rates for the wider population rapidly. This now appears to be happening with rate rises in excess of 20% being sought by insurance firms and non-profits insurance providers collapsing.

"“Studies concluded that the market would stabilize after absorbing the pent-up demand from the previously uninsured population,” testified Eric Galvin, the chief financial officer of ConnectiCare Insurance Company. But, he said, “rather than stabilize, that cost has continued to skyrocket, and we see no end to that higher level of spending.”

“There were close to 250 individual A.C.A. policyholders in Pennsylvania who incurred over $100,000 each in claims and then canceled coverage before the end of the year,”

Those of us who know the history of the NHS in the UK are smiling at the repeat of the lesson then; it was widely assumed when it was implemented in 1948 that demand for medical services would decline after the stock of unaddressed illnesses had cleared. Instead the government was forced to increase funding rapidly in the first few years, and has been rationing, to a greater or lesser extent, ever since.

Submission + - UK police to use civil courts to get money back from cyber criminals (theguardian.com)

Bruce66423 writes: Rather than pursue them through the criminal courts, the UK is going to try using the civil courts where the standard of proof is lower but the consequence is only the loss of the assets — and the costs to the defendant.

Whilst clearly preferable to the US's forfeiture programs where the victim has to prove their innocence to get the money and assets seized back, and with a full court involvement, it still raises some concerns, not least: 'the law firm and others in the private sector would bear the risk, in return for a share of the money taken off the criminal suspect'.

Submission + - UK government to play whack-a-mole with mobile phone users in Prison (theguardian.com)

Bruce66423 writes: A new power allows the government to force mobile phone operators to blacklist and so deactivate phones noted to be in use in prisons. Given that 15,000 phones and sim cards were found, this appears to be a losing strategy, but the alternative — of suppressing phone signals within the prison estate — is costed at £300m, and so is deemed too expensive.

Comment Evidence please! (Score 1) 472

Study time

AS year one fifth time
A level year one third

BA 3 full time years

Total 4.534 years

In a US high school you won't do anything like 25% on chemistry, so they start way back
At uni you won't do 50% of your time on your major. So total study time will be less than 2.5 years.

Same level? Really?

Comment Not convinced (Score 1) 534

Do I detect the memory of a teenager's painful conversation with a parent here? ;)

The reality of human culture is that it requires a degree of conformity if a meaningful culture is to exist. The question is whether the network effects of FB justify its adoption, and my instinct is that they do. YMMV. However if you are part of a culture in which FB is a significant means of communication, you need to do FB; we don't live in small villages where we will talk to everyone face to face any more.

Comment Why use FB? It's a social network (Score 5, Insightful) 534

It's a way of staying in touch with your friends. It's a way to keep in communication. It's a way to share positive experiences and reach out for support when life kicks you in the face. It allows you to announce things 'safely'; a friend announced the death of his uncle on facebook without having to go through the emotions of telling people face to face.

It's not necessary, but it has become a useful tool in our culture.

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