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Comment Re: appeal (Score 4, Informative) 309

I wouldn't be so quick to assign sociopolitical labels to which group favors eroding privacy rights. There are plenty of so-called conservatives (judges, legislators, etc.) who would happily erode 4th amendment and other rights. I am reminded of Ronald Reagan arguing in favor of the admissibility of illegally-obtained evidence, and more recently of provisions in the PATRIOT Act that are objectionable to civil libertarians like ACLU members.

It's worth noting that civil liberty groups like the ACLU are largely socially progressive. And they are generally the ones who say, "Get a goddamned warrant." They're also the ones who hold that the same rules are supposed to apply to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Comment Re: Bullshit (Score 1) 190

Actually, your correction is incorrect. The German word for a young girl is neuter, not feminine. Thus, the previous commenter is correct â" "It put her on him." No need for the hypercorrection.

Yes, I actually took 4 years of German in high school. You really have to wonder about a culture that refers to little girls as "it."

Comment Re:well (Score 2) 200

It's even illegal to stare in my front window from the sidewalk, or with binoculars, even if my curtains are open.

I've always wondered what the guidelines are for something like this in various jurisdictions. I live in Phoenix, and for about a year I lived in an apartment complex with some very large and revealing sliding glass doors that all face an interior common area (swimming pool, etc.) — naturally, most residents kept their curtains closed most of the time for privacy. There was one guy, however, who kept his curtains wide open seemingly 24/7, and he always had a bunch of crazy crap on the walls so that you couldn't help but feel your gaze drawn to glance that way while you were going about your business.

The common area was a semi-public area; residents had keys for when the common area was locked, but guests didn't need special permission to be there.

So one day this guy walks out of his apartment onto his patio wearing nothing but a bathrobe and holding an alcoholic beverage in his hand, demanding to know why I'm looking into his apartment (as I had apparently done so multiple times while going to/from my own apartment). Then he demanded, in a slurred and drunken manner, that I not look into his apartment. Putting aside the issue of whether or not my neighbor was in fact guilty of public intoxication, I still don't know if he had a legal leg to stand on. Had I pressed the issue, would a judge have considered his request reasonable? (Demanding that people not look through an unobscured window that is larger than the dimensions of most human beings and is at ground level where pedestrians are likely to travel doesn't seem to be very reasonable or practical, but the law doesn't necessarily have to be written in a reasonable manner.)

Note that I didn't "pause" to watch for an extended period of time, nor did I have binoculars, nor did I have anything like a camera. (Camera phones weren't even a thing at this point in time.) The point being, if someone has a very expansive view of their own privacy rights, they will not be deterred even if the law is not on their side. This is also why photographers are being accosted by security guards more and more frequently under the guise of "no photography" policies in public places (e.g., Grand Central Terminal) where no such policies actually exist. I shudder to think what some Phoenix residents are going to do if this ordinance passes since quadcopters are popular items sold in the Phoenix Metro area.

Comment Re:Can we get a summary of that excerpt, please? (Score 1) 138

I weep for humanity...

"weird writing style" apparently means "written beyond a 6th grade reading level" (which is incidentally what USA Today is written for, by and large — a good reason to aspire to better news periodicals, even though editorial standards are slipping across the board)

Incidentally, the writing style is not that uncommon, and some of the techniques he uses can be found in other great novels of multiple genres (e.g., detective novels). At least one review describes Starfish as a thriller.

I assure you the excerpt makes sense. If you have trouble understanding this, perhaps you should go read more, and in greater variety. They used to teach reading comprehension in schools, but I'm starting to think programs like No Child Left Behind may have de-emphasized that in exchange for teaching kids how to pass more and more standardized tests that focus on bare essentials. I guess you don't need to have excellent English skills to be a good consumer.

Comment Re:Type 1 vs type 2 diabetes (Score 1) 92

And I would be one of those skinny type 2 diabetics. Rail thin, never got above 200 pounds (just under 91 kg) at a height of 6'2" (just over 1.8 m), and am now comfortably around 160 pounds. I'm currently taking metformin and insulin; I've tried actos, but it just didn't help that much (especially considering bladder cancer is a potential side effect), and I discontinued it after starting the insulin.

I've had nurses look at me and innocently say, "Well, you don't look diabetic!" Which is code for, "You don't look fat!"

I struggle to keep my sugar levels in control, even with moderate exercise and diet. I spill ketones at the drop of a hat. (My urine smelling like paint thinner was one of the first clues there was a problem, along with neuropathy.)

I still get neuropathy and other annoying symptoms. So far, no vision changes.

This is a matter of genetics. Almost everyone on my father's side of the family has diabetes; most of the blame can be placed squarely on the family tree not being an acyclic graph.

Comment Re:Type 1 vs type 2 diabetes (Score 1) 92

I get the impression Metformin is more of a block slowing up sugar uptake which reduces the amount of insulin needed to cope with the sugars and carbs.

That's only one of the things that metformin does. Metformin primarily suppresses gluconeogenesis in the liver, and secondarily increases insulin sensitivity. Far down the list is decreased absorption of glucose in the GI tract.

Comment Where did that come from? (Score 2) 470

Jefferson was our second most intelligent president (estimated IQ of 160). We should listen to him.

That's pretty interesting, since Jefferson lived when IQ tests hadn't been invented. Furthermore, I have to wonder if this "estimate" (based on what, exactly?) takes things like the Flynn effect into account.

In point of fact, Nixon has a known IQ of 143 and therefore the highest IQ of all presidents who were actually tested. That is in no way an endorsement of Nixon as the smartest president.

Considering that many biographies of Jefferson place him as the most intelligent of any sitting US president, I have to ask who you think was the most intelligent president, someone who bests Jefferson with an IQ that you estimate at 160?

You also conveniently forget that Jefferson advocated periodic revolutions, whether bloody or bloodless, and by logical extension a new constitution would have to be ratified after each such revolution. (Think of the French, who routinely adopt new constitutions.) So while Jefferson may have been a strict Constitutionalist by our modern reckoning, he also likely did not expect our current constitution to last as long as it did.

On a different tack, it's pretty obvious that your response to smooth wombat was meant to be snarky. You haven't really addressed the fact that he raises a valid point: Laws must stay relevant to their times. If you're going to invoke Jefferson to advocate for a system of governance where nothing ever changes and technical progress is impeded for the sake of preserving an antiquated social and legal framework, well, I'm afraid I can't get on board with that simply because of Jefferson's cyclical view of governments and their founding documents.

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 185

Although siride did a good job of rebutting your nit picking, I just wanted to point out that "relies on electricity" is a poor definition of electric.

Here are some of the definitions I pulled from dictionary.com for electric as an adjective:

  • pertaining to, derived from, produced by, or involving electricity ("pertaining to" is pretty broad)
  • producing, transmitting, or operated by electric currents
  • electrifying; thrilling; exciting; stirring

All of those senses of the word have examples showing common and accepted usage. The "pertaining to" sense would seem to apply to an "electric bill."

Comment Define "synthetic" (Score 1) 91

Someone already brought up the artificially grown bladder, which was covered earlier this year, so this surgery already seems dubious as a "first synthetic organ" transplant. The BBC article title says first synthetic windpipe, but the subtitle says first synthetic organ. I call shenanigans (and suspect a bit of nationalism at work).

However, what about the Jarvik artificial hearts? Those were developed and transplanted years ago. Don't those qualify as synthetic organs, since they are artificial yet perform a similar function to a real heart?

Comment Re:Document, document, document (Score 1) 96

IANAL, but my understanding is that even if/when the U.S. switches to a "first to file" system, prior art will always remain relevant... it just complicates things because you have to establish that the prior art exists before the filing of the patent, not before the "inventor" claims to have invented the innovation. I guess one could argue this standard would be easier to meet since the act of filing a patent typically comes well after the process of inventing something, except maybe in the case of so-called "submarine" patents.

That said, I'm really unhappy about the U.S. seriously considering moving away from the "first to invent" system. Yes, our system is more litigious, and therefore one can argue it's more costly, but also seems less fair if someone legitimately did invent something first but couldn't afford to beat the other guy to the patent office. I'm hoping someone kills the switchover before it goes into effect.

I have personal memories of documenting every little thing I did at a start-up company in engineering notebooks and composition books where the sheets were all bound by sewing and adhesives -- makes it easy to see if a page has been added or removed. Spiral bound notebooks are not good for documenting stuff you've done, and loose sheets of paper aren't really good either. Digital records are easy to forge. Old school is the best way to document your work should there be a patent challenge.

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