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Comment Re:Oh, noes... (Score 1) 110

Frankly, I'd rather have police accountability than privacy from having people see my face while I'm in public.

You realize that this is not an either/or choice right? We can give police body cameras & get the associated enhanced accountability and put safeguards in to prevent it turning to ubiquitous surveillance,

'Oh noes', like people are being irrational suggesting we limit ubiquitous surveillance.

Comment Re: This sort of story should be censored... (Score 1) 95

Gun control is supported by the GOP base? WTF?

You'd be surprised. It depends heavily on which question you ask. Often questions about specific policies get way more support than more abstract questions. Here's an example from a Quinnipiac national poll from a few days ago (N=1610, MoE = +/-2.4%). For the question:

Do you support or oppose stricter gun laws in the United States?

26% of Republicans answered "support", while 69% answered "oppose". But that same poll also asked:

Do you support or oppose requiring background checks for all gun buyers?

For this question, "support" won 90%-9% among Republicans. The poll also asked:

As you may know, individuals on the U.S. government's terrorist watch list are not allowed to fly on planes. Would you support or oppose banning those on the U.S. government's terrorist watch list from purchasing guns?

which was supported 85%-12% by Republicans. Other polls show similar results. These are both measures that have been debated since the Orlando shootings. PollingReport is a good site for finding polls if you want to see more results for yourself.

You can see this sort of behavior in other issues as well. Health care reform was a big one -- the individual provisions were popular, but when asked about "Obamacare" people gave very negative opinions.

I don't consider theists to be anti-science. Evolution and God are not mutually exclusive.

Of course not. Polls on evolution are careful to distinguish between evolution being "guided by God" and evolution as a purely natural process for that reason. But there does seem to be a floor of about 30% for support for Creationism no matter how the questions are asked. More specific polls are rare, but there's a 2005 Harris poll with some dismaying results (N=1000, MoE=+/-3%).

Do you think human beings developed from earlier species or not?

Did 38%
Did not 54%

Do you believe all plants and animals have evolved from other species or not?

Have 49%
Have not 45%

Do you believe apes and man have a common ancestry or not?

Do 46%
Do not 47%

This seems to have had a priming effect on the standard question:

Which of the following do you believe about how human beings came to be? Human beings evolved from earlier species. Human beings were created directly by God. Human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them.

Evolved from earlier species 22%
Created directly by God 64%
Powerful force/intelligent being 10%

And finally, the most relevant question for this discussion:

Regardless of what you may personally believe, which of these do you believe should be taught in public schools?
Evolution only. [READ IF NECESSARY: Evolution says that human beings evolved from earlier stages of animals.]
Creationism only. [READ IF NECESSARY: Creationism says that human beings were created directly by God.]
Intelligent design only. [READ IF NECESSARY: Intelligent design says that human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them.]
All three.

Evolution only 12%
Creationism only 23%
Intelligent design only 4%
All three 55%
None+Unsure 6%

I don't think there are necessarily a ton of people who are hard-core anti-science ideologues, but the people who are functionally anti-science (in cases that make them uncomfortable) are not a tiny minority by any stretch.

Comment Re: This sort of story should be censored... (Score 1) 95

Evolution v Intelligent Design - a small subset of Republicans, perhaps 20%. And many Evangelicals don't vote (and some still vote Dem)

Unfortunately, this is quite wrong. The numbers you get depend heavily on how you ask the question, but recent polling suggests that a plurality of Republicans (48%) believe that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time vs. only 27% of Democrats. About a third of *all* adults in the U.S. hold this position. If you ask whether God created humans in their present form, it's closer to 40%, and has been for decades. You can find other polls here showing similar results.

Regardless, overall popular support turns out to be less important than one would hope. What matters more is who's politically involved -- who votes in primaries, who runs in school board elections, who causes trouble when politicians vote the "wrong" way. The Republican party is also much more disciplined than the Democratic party, so you'll regularly see the Republican-controlled House and Senate voting in lockstep against even against ideas that have majority support among their base. (Gun control laws are the most recent example.)

Comment Re:a grain of salt for the fearmongering (Score 1) 85

This isn't AM radio we're talking about - it's 'communication'

It isn't AM, that's true. It's FSK. Modulation type is not relevant though. What is relevant is that you are sending a broadcast signal from all towers in the paid-for coverage area. I don't see why it is difficult to grok that these devices, which date back to the 80s, which send very small messages, which have an ever-shrinking user base and therefore plenty of spare capacity, couldn't get by with a "dumb" methodology for getting the message out.

Pagers do not check in. They do not ACK. They do not transmit anything, at all, ever (exception for pagers with reply buttons). The pager does not know its location. The network does not know the pager's location.

This non-transmit methodology is also how pagers can run for months on a single AAA battery.

Comment Re:a grain of salt for the fearmongering (Score 1) 85

Most pagers operate on a "spray and pray" principle of operation. They blast out a high-powered broadcast signal from numerous towers, and your pager either hears it or it doesn't. Your message will get blasted out from every tower in the network in your coverage area, regardless of where you are, because it doesn't know where you are.

The exception is that some pagers have the ability to send a response. Obviously, you can see where those are when a response is sent.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 301

That is also a ridiculously tortured summary. It should go like this: Edward Ivar, the maker of Donald Trump's hairpiece, is suing Gawker Media to stifle reporting about that hairpiece. He has hired lawyer Charles J. Harder to represent him in the case. Harder is the same lawyer who represents billionaire Peter Thiel, who is also suing Gawker media Harder is attempting to prevent republication of legal documents he has sent to Gawker, claiming copyright on them.

Once you de-torture and normalize the wording, the "news for nerds" aspect of it is made clear to be not present. Same for "stuff that matters."

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