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Comment Not a federal government computer system (Score 1) 1005

calling upon a foreign power to target his opponent by attacking federal government computer systems, though? That's much, much worse.

Um, the 30,000 emails that were deleted were never stored on a federal government computer system. That is one of the fishiest things about this matter.

Do you realize that the system they were stored on is now offline, and therefore impossible to attack? Trump realizes this, and that is what makes his joke funny. You don't seem to realize it.

Comment You were modded to +5? (Score 1) 1005

that's essentially the same thing as officials in the presidential administration just giving the classified information to a journalist and encouraging them to publish it.

It is in no way the same thing.

When an administration leaks information, it wants the information to be published, and it puts thought into exactly what information will be leaked and to whom it will be leaked.

On the other hand, we know that some effort was made to keep the email server secure (about as well as a small two-bit IT firm could manage), and there were scared reactions when weird behavior made people think that it might have been hacked; and if it was hacked, the operators of the server had absolutely no control over which entities hacked it, or what subset of the stored information was exfiltrated.

Yeah, that sounds like "essentially the same thing."

Comment Re:You have more freedom than you think (Score 1) 460

I'm unsure why you think you should have to "earn" healthcare.

Somebody has to "earn" it; doctors' salaries (to name just one category of healthcare costs) don't pay themselves. There are four ways that healthcare (or health insurance) can be paid for:

(1) out of the patient's assets
(2) by a wealth redistribution program (people other than the patient pay for it, coercively)
(3) by charitable contributions (people other than the patient pay for it, voluntarily; for example, Shriners Hospitals are funded this way)
(4) some combination of the above.

The system used in the U.S. is some-combination-of-the-above (4). As per-capita GDP grows, and people become more able and willing to be charitable, the ethical way to govern would be to shift sources of funding away from the coercive (2) and toward the voluntary (3). Note that the most efficient economic decisions are made when people spend their own money (1), not when they spend other people's money (2 and 3).

We have a whole new insurance industry around supplemental insurance now to cover things that used to be covered by normal insurance.

What country do you live in? Here in the U.S., "normal" insurance is now required to cover even frivolous things like gender reassignment surgery.

Comment Consistent with the definition of slavery (Score 1) 460

The people forced to provide those goods and services for those that haven't earned them are the real slaves.

That's really quite consistent with the definition of slavery. To the extent that the fruits of your labor are confiscated, you are enslaved.

If, between local, state and federal government, 60% of your income is confiscated, you are 60% enslaved.

This assertion does not break down just because some of the confiscated funds are directed back to you in the form of government benefits. Traditional slaves received meager food, clothing and housing benefits too.

Am I an anarchist who believes we should all be 0% enslaved? No, I have a gut feeling that society would thrive best if we were all about 17% enslaved.

Comment The facts disagree (Score 1) 1143

it purely aligns with greed, rather than need

The facts disagree:

Charitable giving continued its upward trend in 2015, as an estimated $373 billion was given to charitable causes. For the second year in a row, total giving reached record levels, and taking 2014 and 2015 together, charitable giving has increased over 10% (using inflation-adjusted dollars).

The wonderful thing about that $373 billion redistribution of wealth is that it was not coerced by any government.

High-income people tend to give more of their income to charity, in percentage terms as well as in absolute terms, than middle-class people. (Of course there are exceptions to that rule: Bidens gave average of $369 to charity a year.) That explains why, say, 3% GDP growth results in greater-than-3% growth in charitable contributions. Most of that $373 billion in philanthropic donations was given by -- according to you -- "psychopaths who parasitically prey upon the rest of society".

If we can just obtain a few more decades of economic growth, we will be able to have a more robust social safety net than the one we have now, funded entirely by voluntary contributions. Government will be able to get out of the wealth redistribution business, and focus on the sole job it was created to do: securing our rights.

For that reason, I'm betting the economy will never be permitted to grow that much. Restoring that limited, Jeffersonian scope to government is anathema to too many people.

Comment The 40-hour workweek is arbitrary. (Score 1) 1143

The historical trend is for workweeks to steadily become shorter and shorter. But that trend has been interrupted and for some reason we've become stuck on the concept that a workweek is supposed to be 40 hours.

I'm not saying that capitalism is the problem, but our rigid adherance to certain extreme forms of free market economics...

Correct, there's nothing inherent in capitalism that says workweeks should be 40 hours.

One solution would be for the Department of Labor to index the length of the workweek, just as tax brackets are indexed to inflation to prevent bracket creep.

A better solution would not involve government at all. Salaries are just numbers that are freely negotiated between employers and individual employees, and the length of the workweek should be handled in the exact same way. (The problem, you see, is that it doesn't occur to most people that this particular degree of freedom should be one of the things that defines a truly free market.)

Employers always strive to attract quality employees, and they would gain a powerful edge if their initial offer to applicants could include, say, a 28-hour workweek. 40 hours was a rather arbitrary length when it was instituted, and it's even more arbitrary today.

Comment Returning a wet phone to functionality (Score 1) 83

You may have heard that sealing your phone in a bag of rice will extract moisture. Here's a hygroscopic product that works even better: DampRid.

Even so, sometimes it takes a long time. Don't give up on that device. It may power on after a few weeks or months in the bag of DampRid.

Comment You've not heard of the Petraeus case? (Score 1) 801

The only times I've ever heard of an actual prosecution for mishandling has been when the person was suspected of actual spying, or in Manning's case, whistleblowing

I'm surprised that you've not heard of the David Petraeus case.

In January 2015, officials reported the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors had recommended bringing felony charges against Petraeus for allegedly providing classified information to his biographer, Paula Broadwell (with whom he was having an affair), while serving as the director of the CIA. Eventually, Petraeus pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information... On April 23, 2015, a federal judge sentenced Petraeus to two years' probation plus a fine of $100,000. The fine was more than double the amount the Justice Department had requested.

Comment You know, Carter *was* honest (Score 1) 801

In 1978, when the Labor Force Participation Rate was only 63% and the national debt was only $0.77 trillion, Carter talked about economic "malaise" and a high "misery index."

In 2016, when the Labor Force Participation Rate is only 63% and the national debt is $17.3 trillion, the administration brags about how sustained and robust the "recovery" has been.

Comment The risks seem quite small. (Score 1) 131

We do everything we can to sterilize the probes, but microbes are very good at getting everywhere and hiding out.

Fortunately, that fact hasn't stopped us from sending landers and rovers to Mars.

If Galileo had crashed on Europa, and microbes were later found living on Europa, their DNA would easily tell us whether we're looking at something that originated on Earth.

A bigger problem would be, what if invasive-species-earth-microbes make the native microbes go extinct?

But it seems unlikely that a species that has adapted to Earth's environment, when introduced to Europa, would crowd out species that have adapted to Europa's environment.

Comment Fleet Learning could lead to... (Score 1) 440

I'm not sure of the value of Fleet Learning.

If 1000 Teslas follow almost exactly the same course down a particular stretch of road, and then some road construction workers put down temporary paint that shifts the lanes, will the next Tesla smugly take the old course (knocking down traffic cones, or worse, in the process) ?

Tell me something reassuring about this.

Comment False confidence? (Score 1) 499

This is the first time I've ever heard "false confidence" described as a positive.

False confidence always leads to errors and small or large disasters sooner or later.

If men indeed have greater false confidence than women, the best way to reach gender equality is to instill less false confidence in men.

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