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Comment More about entrapment, less about informants (Score 4, Insightful) 106

It's perfectly reasonable for law enforcement to allow some informants to commit certain crimes while attempting to shut down a larger organization. Simply reporting the number of times that this happens says nothing one way or the other about whether the FBI is doing a good job at making use of this power.

Personally, I'm much more worried about the times that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies engage in sting operations where they use such informants to urge people to commit legal activity and then arrest them for it. Some fraction of these informants may well be doing just this sort of thing, but the report of merely the number of informants doesn't say anything about that. Here is one example of such entrapment. Quoted from the above page:

The judge criticized not only the defendants, but also what she viewed as the government's overzealous handling of the investigation. Referring to Cromitie, she said, "The essence of what occurred here is that a government, understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism, came upon a man both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own. It created acts of terrorism out of his fantasies of bravado and bigotry, and then made those fantasies come true." She added, "The government did not have to infiltrate and foil some nefarious plot – there was no nefarious plot to foil." She said the defendants were "not political or religious martyrs," but "thugs for hire, pure and simple."

Comment Re:Do we nned it? (Score 1) 164

The main thing that the doze mode does is make it so that while your phone is sitting in your pocket, it uses almost no battery. With older Android phones, they rarely last much more than a day without draining the full battery even if you don't use them much. With an Android M or N OS, the devices should last a few days with light usage.

This feature provides little to no benefit for battery usage while the phone is being actively used.

Comment Re:Cannot happen in earth, period. (Score 1) 211

Actually, it's guaranteed to happen to Earth, though not until long after all humans have died.

Human-caused global warming is highly unlikely to result in temperatures warm enough to trigger a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth, even though human-caused global warming will cause quite a lot of damage to human societies.

However, the Sun is very, very slowly getting brighter as more hydrogen turns into helium at its core. In about a billion years or so, the Sun will become warm enough that the Earth's oceans will evaporate faster and faster, leading to more water vapor in the atmosphere, which will amplify the greenhouse effect further. Once this is triggered, the oceans will boil entirely and the Earth will become very much like Venus. If there is an additional release of CO2 from the crust due to the higher temperatures as there is in Venus, then that will amplify the effect even more. The Earth probably won't ever become quite as hot as Venus, just because Venus is closer to the Sun. But it will get extremely hot in the far future.

Of course, this is the far, far future. Human activities can push the Earth's temperature for a few hundred, perhaps a few thousand years. We can't have any impact at all on the temperature of the Earth over a billion years (barring the development of ridiculous new technologies sometime in the future).

Comment Re:Step in a dog turd to dodge a bullet. (Score 1) 993

Much of this is false. Stock markets aren't the only measure of economic prosperity. The biggest immediate impact is a large drop in the pound, which causes some immediate problems (in particular, imports are significantly more expensive).

Leaving the Euro will likely result in a permanent reduction in trade, which will permanently reduce UK living standards.

Doing better economically than Germany or France isn't particularly noteworthy. Both of those nations are tied to the Eurozone which is causing reduced economic growth throughout (though Germany and France have received the least pain as a result of the common currency, it has still hurt them). Since the economic crash in 2008, the UK has done worse economically than it did after the Great Depression started.

Fortunately, Trump has little chance of being elected.

Comment Re:The everyone was doing it argument (Score 1) 993

We did get some actions during Bush's presidency to do exactly that. Bush still engaged in a pretty large increase in the power of the executive branch, and it's pretty likely that Trump would definitely attempt to do the same.

He might fail, but his flagrant hatred and vast ignorance of the job make me never ever want to see Trump in office. Fortunately, there's very little chance he will win the election.

Comment Re:Slashdot Smear? (Score 1) 373

I only read the ScienceMag article. They state that they're injecting plasma into people, and measuring their blood for markers of age.

This is utterly meaningless. Plasma includes a number of proteins, and it's entirely possible that they're simply measuring the injected plasma itself. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that this plasma is causing any changes to the subject's body, and until there are long-term studies which measure health consequences, there will be no reason to believe that this is anything but rank quackery.

Comment What's the point? (Score 1) 82

Noise cancelling headphones already are pretty terrible at eliminating sound from conversations (they're best at eliminating sounds from nearly-constant sources, such as from an HVAC or an airplane engine). Seems like a worthless feature to me, unless they can also come up with a mechanism to effectively cancel speech (which is really, really difficult).

Comment Re:Meh (Score 1) 174

You're assuming that all revenue goes to gains, whereas only a relatively small portion is actually the operating margin. Then there's the fact that customers may lay down their own lures if the proprietor does nothing.

I imagine there's probably still a net benefit, but it's not quite as clear as you claim here. The largest benefit would probably coming from geeky spots (e.g. gaming bars) having regular events (e.g. Wednesday night Pokemon).

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The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White