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Comment Re:Less Space than a Nomad. (Score 2) 239

Most people bitch about their cell phone battery life but that hasn't led to Apple doing anything but making their phones thinner and their batteries smaller.

Well WTF do they expect? If they bitch and complain, and then run out and pay top dollar anyway for a device they bitch and complain about, why would the vendor bother listening to their complaints?

Comment Re:Low end? (Score 2) 65

I swear to god Apple is like a "stupid" tax.

Not exactly. Taxes are involuntary: you're required to pay them whether you want to or not. No one is forcing anyone to buy an Apple. People do this entirely willingly, just like they happily and willingly buy or pay for things like cable TV (including premium sports channels), church tithes, horrifically expensive handbags or designer clothes like from Coach or Gucci, Jeeps, or Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Submission + - Feds charge 61 people over Indian call center IRS scams

BUL2294 writes: Following the arrests earlier this month in India of call center employees posing as IRS or immigration agents, USA Today and Consumerist are reporting that the US Department of Justice has charged 61 people in the US and India of facilitating the scam, bilking millions from Americans thinking they were facing immediate arrest and prosecution.

"According to the indictment — which covers 20 individuals in the U.S. and 32 people and five call centers in India — since about 2012 the defendants used information obtained from data brokers and other sources to call potential victims impersonating officers from the IRS or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services."

Comment Re:Positive development (Score 1) 141

The abundance of one species does not a healthy ecosystem make. I have a friend whose family owns a 1700 acre island off the coast of New England. It used to support an enormous white tail deer population -- and not coincidentally it had a plague of ticks, because everything in nature is food for something else. You would not have wanted to visit there back in the 1970s because the tick problem was insane. Everyone in his family has had Lyme disease, which also feasted on the swollen deer population.

Then in the 1980s the Western Coyote made it to New England, and a pack swam out to the island. In a single season they took down most of the deer herd, and now the island is a pleasant and sanitary place to live. And this is not some kind of odd aberration; this is how ecology works. If you disturb an ecosystem (say by killing off all the native timber wolves), weed species take over and they end up riddled with disease.

Weed species the ones who by sheer luck can live in conjunction with or off of large human populations. In a healthy ecosystem they may be cute, but an ecosystem dominated by weed animals can be nightmarish. I know lots of natural science geeks, and for the most part animals don't scare them. I once went for a walk with a girl who picked up a rotting coyote head and put it in her jacket pocket. She was TA'ing an anatomy course and wanted to show it to her students. But even she wouldn't go near a racoon, because unchecked by predation suburban raccoons are chock full of leptospirosis, salmonella and roundworm -- not to mention rabies. Those diseases can and do cripple, even kill people.

A world dominated by weed species would be quite horrible to live in.

Comment Re:More condoms less climate change (Score 1) 141

People per se have almost no impact on climate. It's what people do and how much in aggregate they do it.

Environmentalists are often stereotyped as pessimists, but really most of the people I know who've dedicated their careers are optimistic that technology can address many environmental problems. Sure, they'd like to see the global population stabilized, or even somewhat reduced, because that makes the job of preserving the environment much easier. But they actually believe the sustainability problem can be licked, even without reducing the global population by much.

I'll give you one example of how an actual environmentalist thinks. I was at a meeting with the sustainability director of a major sportswear manufacturer, and he was describing the research they were doing into improving the recyclability of polyester fleece clothing. He made the point that scale is critical to assessing the environmental impact. For a small band of hunter-gatherers, wild animal pelts would be the source of clothing with the least impact; wool would have intermediate impact; a chemical plant that reprocesses coke bottles into polyester resins would have a ridiculously large impact. But if you are making hundreds of thousands of garments, the impacts are actually reversed: the chemical plant has the least environmental impact. Once you turn those bottles into fleece you can continually recycle those molecules into more fleece. He describes recycling as "living off your environmental income instead of your capital."

Environmentalists -- by which I mean the people who are actually working on solutions to environmental problems -- generally believe that even with a large population we can make use of the products of ecosystems without disturbing the equilibria that sustain those systems. As one civil engineering environmentalist I know put it: I = P*S/T ; impact is proportional to population and standard of living but inversely proportional to technology. You can reduce the environmental impact of home heating by reducing the number of people; or you could do it by people getting used to being colder. But you can get the same result by insulating your house and heating it with renewable energy.

It's actually the anti-environmentalists who are the pessimists; they don't believe in people's ability to adapt, and they anticipate nothing but suffering from trying to do anything about problems. Their version of "optimism" is to discount any evidence that problems exist, or to convincing themselves if we do nothing everything will work out for the best.

Comment Re:AOL AND Yahoo!!!? (Score 1) 27

I don't know about where you live, but where I live (a more rural area about an hour from DC), Verizon is king, as it is in most rural areas I know of. Verizon has, hands-down, the best cellular coverage in rural areas. Of course, they also have the very worst service, and the most astronomical prices. But people in rural areas happily pay it because they're unwilling to put up with less-than-stellar coverage from the other telcos.

Personally, I have a Sprint phone with Ting and it works well enough. I'm not willing to pay $150/month more just for better coverage. Sprint's service is "good enough", and doesn't cause me any problems.

Comment Re:The few Web 1.0 Sites. (Score 1) 27

While I mostly agree with you, your points about not having any cache among millennials and being a vaguely recognizable name from the past can also be said about Cadillac, which everyone has long been predicting demise for because it's an "old person's car". They were saying this 2 decades ago about Cadillac and Lincoln. Yet those brands are still there, somehow. Cadillac even survived the whole GM collapse, while Pontiac and Saturn did not. Now, how Cadillac manages to stay afloat, I have no idea, but they do. It's just like AOL and Yahoo; I have no idea how they survive, but they do. There must be someone out there still giving them money. And if Yahoo is anything like Cadillac, they could still be hanging around 20 years from now, though people will still be wondering how.

Comment Re:The few Web 1.0 Sites. (Score 1) 27

Advertisers want young people with disposable income for the most part.

They do?

Young people tend to either be flat broke, or rather savvy to attempts to rip them off, especially internet advertising. Young people are far more likely to use ad-blockers. Old people are not; they're more trusting and easily taken advantage of. That's why they even have laws designed to protect against "elder abuse". Advertisers would do much better targeting the old folks who use Yahoo Mail.

Submission + - The FCC just passed sweeping new rules to protect your online privacy ( 1

jriding writes: Federal regulators have approved unprecedented new rules to ensure broadband providers do not abuse their customers' app usage and browsing history, mobile location data and other sensitive personal information generated while using the Internet.

The rules, passed Thursday in a 3-to-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, require Internet providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, to obtain their customers' explicit consent before using or sharing that behavioral data with third parties, such as marketing firms.

Comment Re:Open Office Failure (Score 1) 252

That's why it's better to live alone. My cats don't expect too much, though they can be a little bit distracting when they insist on jumping in my lap. Much better than having a live-in partner who's always whining about having too much housework to do and never has any free time and wants me to do all kinds of house-related stuff and chores, yet somehow when I'm on my own I don't have much trouble keeping up with the laundry and dishes and it takes me a tiny fraction of the time it seemed to take her.

Comment Re:Problem solved (Score 1) 252

I'd like to add to this that one good solution to this (for office workers who spend all their time on a computer) is to allow more tele-working. Encourage or allow employees to spend X days a week working from home. Then sick workers can get work done from home while not spreading their sickness, and healthy workers who never get sick can also work from home some and not feel like the sickly people are getting to do less work (leaving the healthy people to do it) as a reward for not being as healthy, and enjoy being able to work from home and stay out of the noisy open office too.

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