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Comment After the election (Score 4, Interesting) 159

If there is any, and I mean *any*, evidence that Trumps communications to said senior Russian officials came with a "wink and a nod", or indeed anything more specific, then there is every reason for the FBI to get involved....

And of course, selling a third of our Uranium reserves to Russia or selling dual-use technology to Russia doesn't count. It's not important, and was scrubbed from someone's Wikipedia entry.

Thinking through the outrage over Palmer Luckey (Oculus Rift founder) from his support of Trump, and all the crass, oafish things that have happened during this election, one thing seems clear.

The time to address these issues is after the election.

That's the only time where anyone can legitimately claim that their concern is real, and not partisan sniping.

The ends don't justify the means, and it's not worth tearing down the system "just this once". Getting your candidate elected is not worth sacrificing their legitimacy to do it.

If your candidate was worth his/her salt, then you wouldn't need any of these dirty tricks. Right now, the only limits we should have are legal ones.

I note that while Lyndon Johnson was negotiating the end of the Vietnam War, [candidate for president] Richard Nixon called up [Vietnam revolutionary leader] Pol Pot and said that if he delayed negotiations, Nixon would give him a better deal when elected. Negotiations failed, Nixon was elected and the Vietnam war was extended for 2 more years.

This was an American citizen interfering in the political process of the US, and promising aid to our enemy. It was clearly illegal, and the FBI of the time knew about it.

And did nothing. Illegal, and the FBI did nothing. Ring a bell?

Recently, Hillary literally(*) accused Trump of treason. That seems a bit over the line even for Democrats, and it seems illegal on it's face.

But now is not the time to complain, we've let these people have the run of our media, our internet, and our zeitgeist. Let's let it play out for another 6 weeks, then we can carefully examine these things with the benefit of hindsight.

(*) Using the correct definition of literally

Comment Not bad (Score 1) 827

I have to say, your post was well constructed and cogent, with no insults.

You make good points which are lost within fairly large paragraphs. The reader has to slog through a lot of words and actually parse them out to see your meaning. Consider making your point with short sentences and edit for terseness, I think you'll find that gives your position much more power.

If I came across your post in a different thread I would mod it up. I hope you'll keep posting here, it's rare to find someone who can compose an insightful post.

This is exactly the sort of debate we should be having on this site.

Comment The DNC are cheaters (Score 5, Interesting) 827

But really what did the DNC do do Sanders (who was not a Democrat prior to trying to run for President as one)?

They said mean things in private? They stacked the deck for her prior to Bernie running? And you think it is worth fucking-over America (the globe even!) so that she is not "rewarded"?

Early this year, when Bernie raised $60 million and Clinton had raised only $20, the DNC moved $60 million in funds earmarked for local campaigns directly into Clinton's account.

Bernie and Clinton won popular votes by roughly the ratio of their campaign spending, so the extra $60 million made a huge difference.

Bernie had momentum at the time, and would have outspent Clinton 3-to-1 in political ads. The extra advertizing would have very likely won him many of the early state primaries, and would have likely won him the national primary as a result.

Moving the money as they did is almost certainly a violation of federal election law, likely a violation of money-laundering law, and goes completely against any sense of neutrality in the DNC towards candidates. (Additionally, they short-sheeted all the local campaigns, giving republicans an edge in many areas.)

Effectively, they took all the campaign contributions people gave to Bernie and wasted them.

And you think it is worth fucking-over America (the globe even!) so that she is not "rewarded"?

It's worth standing up and saying "no" to corruption.

The people who gave support to Bernie Sanders should not have had their efforts wasted due to cheating.

Comment Really? Why? (Score 5, Insightful) 827

We complain about lobbyists... but this is so much worse

I'm curious why you think this is.

We've just had an article about lobbyists that prevent Tesla from selling in Michigan without going through dealerships (which are universally hated), another recent article where lobbyists caused a town to lose it's working gigibit fibre internet.

For contrast, note that the democrats put up a billboard of Trump kissing Cruz, and naked statues of Trump in several cities.

Question 1: Why is this worse than what Democrats do, and

Question 2: Why is this worse than lobbyists who actually screw us over and make our lives miserable?

Really. I honestly want to know. Why should this be of any concern to anyone?

Comment Are you smarter than a Trump supporter? (Score 2, Interesting) 522

The last I'd heard, news fact-checking organizations were reporting that he told the truth 15% of the time. Why would I ever care what the opinion of someone like was?

And don't tell me "because he's going to be president". The people of the United States are still smarter than that.

Here's one of your news organizations fact checking some things about Donald Trump.

Bruce, I don't know if you've noticed, but the media sometimes misrepresents things. For example, the polls say that 44% of Trumps supporters have a college degree, which the media is quick to point out is less than 50%, so Trump supporters are mostly uneducated.

What they (and you) fail to notice is that the national average for college degrees is 30%, so on average Trump supporters are more educated than the national average. (And here's a reference to the analysis as backing for that statement.)

From that article:

What’s more, Silver found that 44% of Trump voters have college undergraduate degrees, compared to 29% of US adults.

What I don't understand is why Clinton supporters always resort to insults.

I mean, you're especially recognized as being a smart person, yet I don't see you posting a rational reason why Clinton would be a good president.

Set aside that she's not Trump, because there are at least two other candidates, can you point to one thing she's done that has been of benefit to the people of this country? (With links please - don't just make things up.)

Bruce, You're a smart dude.

Can you explain why you need to defend Clinton... with insults?

P.S. - The term "offensive" is used entirely too much recently, but I was honestly offended by your statement. It was an insult, targetting a clearly defined group of people; hence, offensive.

Comment Last resort (Score 5, Insightful) 294

That said, I don't think that justifies attacking the hospital electronically or physically; just through legal channels. But the hospital and courts were complete and utter pieces of shit in this case.

It's an interesting situation.

We've long bemoaned our inability to hold people accountable for their actions. Example after example of big, politically well-connected entities seem to get off scott free, and we the people are powerless to do anything about it, nor can we force the government to action.

(HSBC directors not being charged, Wells Fargo directors not being charged, Oracle paying $95 million in services restitution for wasting $240 million, and so on.)

Note that Justina's parents were issued a gag order that prevented them from talking about their problems, and it was only *after* her father broke the gag order that the situation received public attention.

Do we believe that the father should be prosecuted for breaking the gag order? He was justifiably concerned for his daughter's welfare. The hacker was also concerned, and wanted to send a message and perhaps prevent more abuse and tortures.

We all know very well that the democratic process is lost to us - as anyone who voted for Bernie Sanders found out.

How can we condemn the "last resort" actions of any individual trying to bring about just and proper changes?

Where do we draw the line?

Submission + - Anonymous hacker explains his attack on Boston Children's Hospital (huffingtonpost.com)

Okian Warrior writes: Martin Gottesfeld of Anonymous was arrested in connection with the spring/2014 attacks on a number of health care and treatment facilities in the Boston area. The attacks were in response/defense of a patient there named Justina Pelletier.

Gottesfeld now explains why he did what he did, in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

Comment Forum sliding (Score 0) 536

Why must so many geeks be filthy bigots? Every article is littered with racist and otherwise bigoted garbage. It's a shame that Slashdot is morphing into Stormfront.

It's an anchor for forum sliding.

They use bots to get these comments in at the very top, knowing that they'll be voted down to -1.

Then when an inconvenient or embarrassing discussion happens that they want to bury, they log into another account and respond to their own topmost comment, and log into further accounts to upvote the new comment.

The end result is that the inconvenient or embarrassing discussion gets pushed down the page.

They know that few people read past the first couple of comment blocks, so they use this technique to adjust the conversation to their own benefit.

Check out Correct The Record for info, and note that HRC spent $1 million on these sorts of techniques.

Comment Hackaday Prize (Score 5, Informative) 536

Check out the Hackaday prize, over at Hackaday.io.

For three years running, Hackaday has hosted the contest with a $100,000 first prize and a handful of $10,000 prizes.

Several of the prize categories would be appropriate for solving world problems, such as "citizen scientist", "automation", and "assistive technologies". (The other two categories are catch-alls which could also contain world-bearing solutions.

Many of the projects are high-concept. There are about 1000 entries this year, so you will get a wide range of possible project including some risible ones.

But there are definitely some strong entries this year.

I follow the Automatic Digital Microscope project, which hopes to automate (and speed up) the detection of tuberculosis in 3rd world countries.

The Electrospinning machine looks really interesting, could possibly become the next "3d printer" appliance for hackers.

The very high accuracy tilt sensor is possibly a new technology (I hadn't seen or heard of it before).

If you want to find techies improving the world, you might include Hackaday.io (specifically: the prize entries) in your search.

If you want to improve the world yourself, you might consider coming up with a project and entering the prize next year.

If you want to *help* improve the world, you might consider joining a Hackaday.io team that's entered for the prize.

Comment The health rumor catapult (Score 4, Insightful) 149

Looking at the headlines over time of Hillary leaving the 9/11 event is pretty interesting.

A couple of hours ago, it was "Hillary has pneumonia".
Then it was "doctors diagnosed Hillary with pneumonia".
Then it was "doctors diagnosed Hillary with pneumonia well before the 9/11 ceremony". (On Friday, apparently).
Now it's Hillary Clinton's Doctor Says Pneumonia Led to Abrupt Exit From 9/11 Event.

(If you've ever studied creative writing, note the slow creep away from active voice and into the passive. That last one doesn't even connect Hillary with pneumonia directly - to read the headline, you might think that she left to comfort someone *else* who has pneumonia.)

As someone who's had pneumonia, I can well believe that she might faint after standing around for 90 minutes on a hot afternoon.

As someone who tries to look beyond the headlines, it would seem that IF she was diagnosed on Friday it would have been better to announce it at that time. All this back-filling and back-pedaling after the fact makes it look like she's hiding something more serious.

Here I was ready to denounce the Hillary health rumors as being unfounded, and this turns up.

She put the issue of her health into a catapult and fired it into public view, all on her ownsome.

Comment What excuses tomorrow may bring (Score 4, Insightful) 149

I've noticed that Hillary has a pattern of using the "most minimal" excuse that will get her by.

She was in great health until she had a 4 minute 22 second coughing fit, then it's "I have been talking non-stop for weeks, but I'm OK now."

She was fine until she had to leave the 9/11 memorial, then it's "I was feeling a little overheated, but I'm all right now".

That worked until the video of her collapsing as she's put into a van, then it's "I have pneumonia, but it's all right".

This tracks with other investigation into her actions, including the E-mail scandal:

  • . She didn’t send or receive any e-mails that were classified “at the time.”
  • . She didn’t send or receive any e-mails “marked classified” at the time.
  • . She turned over all of her work-related e-mails.
  • . Her use of a private server and e-mail domain was permitted by law and regulation.
  • . All of her e-mails were immediately captured by @.gov addresses.
  • . There were numerous safeguards against security breaches and “no evidence” of hacking.
  • . She was never served a subpoena on her e-mail use.

...all of which she has said, occasionally under oath.

If the past is any prediction of the future, we'll have to wait a couple of months to find out if she was really sick or not.

Comment Amino acids (Score 2, Informative) 231

Background: Proteins are made by chaining tlgether amino acids drawn from a specific set, and there is a coding scheme that selects a specific amino acid for each DNA nucleotide triplet.

According to my biology book, the amino acids that make up life on this planet are largely random. There are a couple that are so close in form and function that they can substitute for one another with little difference, there are other compounds which might have useful forms which are not used as amino acids, and there are gaps and duplication in the coding scheme.

Once the amino acid and coding scheme evolved, it became a survival characteristic to use that same scheme, simply because you could eat the other living matter on the planet. As a result, virtually everything on the planet uses the same amino acid/coding scheme.

On another planet, life might evolve with a different set of amino acids (possibly even mostly the same as ours, but with one or two differences) and a different coding scheme. While AAA might be Lysine on Earth, it might code for something else on a distant planet.

This means that if we find life on another planet, it probably wouldn't be edible by humans. It's highly likely that none of the vegetation could be farmed or eaten, and any animal life would probably be poisonous. (But the good news: alien pathogens wouldn't be able to infect us, so there's little chance of bringing "space herpes" back to Earth.)

If we seeded the distant planet with life from Earth, it's likely that the same amino-acid/coding scheme would proliferate and remain unchanged. If and when we choose to go there, the flora and fauna would be available to us as a resource.

We would of course need to sort out the philosophical implications of doing this. If we could get to another planet, we'd probably also have the technology to make our own food as needed, and it would seem wrong to destroy a planet harbouring animal life for our own gain. Maybe if it only had plant life, lichens or moss, say.)

In ancient Rome the zeitgeist of the times would be "yeah! let's do it".

I don't know what the prevailing opinion would be 100 years in the future.

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