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Comment Re:And yet (Score 3, Interesting) 409

Sure. Unless you consider Assange's very sanctuary in the embassy is essentially a big, Ecuadorian, middle finger to the US.

A very good point, because it indicates that Ecuador's recent decision to deny Assange internet access is inconsistent with their previous practice and therefore an unexplained contradiction. In the history of Wikileaks, what have they released which not impact an election? Indeed, influencing political outcomes by releasing secrets is Wikilieaks raison d'être. And Ecuador just noticed that now?

My guess would be that Ecuador was threatened either by an official in the Obama administration or by a Clinton functionary promising retaliation after she wins election.

Comment Re: And yet (Score 4, Informative) 409

from parent post:

Preventing the distribution of information that Hillary Clinton made speeches where she said in private the same things as she said in public? ..."

from one of Hillary Clinton's paid Wall Street speeches:

Clinton: “But If Everybody's Watching, You Know, All Of The Back Room Discussions And The Deals, You Know, Then People Get A Little Nervous, To Say The Least. So, You Need Both A Public And A Private Position.” You just have to sort of figure out how to -- getting back to that word, "balance" -- how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that's not just a comment about today.

Not only does Hillary Clinton advocate in private paid meetings to Wall Street bankers policies opposed her own public positions, she confesses in one of those meetings that she does. The contradictions between her public statements and private statements made to Wall Street bankers are why she suppressed the release of transcripts or recordings of those paid speeches during the primary and why their release by Wikileaks has been politically damaging to her.

Comment 3+ miles for me! (Score 4, Insightful) 156

If you divide the distance walked by the number of days since I started playing... which includes many days where I didn't play, and some where I played 8 hours.
Lost 15 lb and slimmed down considerably!
Also met two really cute geek girls who were happy to let me play with their, ahem, pokemon! ;)
Grab them by the pokemon I say! :D

Comment That's unusual (Score 3, Insightful) 44

About the recently defunct AT&T ad program: there are innumerable little such bullshit annoyances which businesses create for customers because it's part of the of the superstition and business culture to assume without question that whatever fraction of a percent of increased revenue they generate merits the frustration which they cause customers.

It's like those sale signs in the grocery store, "Sale, two for [some price]." You stand there, wasting time reading the sign, trying to figure out if you actually have to buy two to get the discount or if you just buy one do you still get a discounted price. Make this easier for everyone and state the sale price of just one, assholes. Of course the people making those labels believe they will cause customers to buy more if they suggest to do that, despite whatever inconvenience that creates when discovering the sales policy for smaller quantities. When I see those signs now, I think to myself, "well, fuck you too," and then shop at Costco and order from Amazon to avoid the bullshit. It is important to attune your senses to such corporate marketing and sales crap and then subvert or work around it; The expansion of corporate bullshit annoyance depends on customers not consciously recognizing and accounting for its burden.

The encrustation of that kind of crap has grown to such levels because customers are not consciously aware of the burden. But because its absence is psychologically uplifting, they respond positively with dollars when it is purged. Remember all those other web search engines which Google totally crushed? Their home pages loaded up with advertising? Then Google defied the convention of crowding ever-more advertising into the search page and displayed only their logo and the search box, and minimal, discrete related advertising in search results. And it was good. And the design genius of the Steve Jobs and the award-winning, insanely-high-sales-revenue-per-square-foot Apple Stores? Actually very simple formula: It's just stuff you want to buy sitting out on tables to look at and then purchase. The glass and wood and stone is cool, but it is slight-of-hand. The real reason the stores work is because of the absence of store bullshit. Stuff you want to buy sitting on tables to look at. Absolute genius.

Comment If you are into that (Score 5, Insightful) 474

So I have this friend with a father who is a Vietnam war hero. When the base was under attack, he would grab the nearest weapon he could get his hands on and run toward the enemy. He won a medal for demonstrating that after the enemy shoots the tail off your helicopter, it is indeed still flyable if you go just go fast enough. Funny thing was, his very successful military career was something of an accident. Before joining the army, when there was nothing at stake and nothing to be gained by it, he would get in trouble by doing some damn fool wild thing. After the umpteenth time the judge finally told him, it's the jail or the military, you choose.

It took a long time for me to understand because I am not like that myself, but some people need high-risk, crazy adventure to thrive. If that is denied to them, they will seize it anyway, however they can. So those people might as well expend that impulse on something socially redeeming, like establishing off-world human colonies, while the rest of us cower here on earth until interplanetary transport is proven safe.

Comment Re:OMG (Score 1) 167

There is a limit to how much plants and algae can survive with existing nutrients, plus we've been killing them. Not to mention some stuff falls to the ground or the ocean bottom, never to return its oxygen again. Not everything rots.I imagine complex life having arisen and expanded even before we were around might have had something to do with it as well. Lots of animals eat plants.

Comment political motive vs. profit motive (Score 4, Interesting) 112

from the ./ summary:

Each country builds and maintains its own infrastructure for connecting citizens to the wider internet. The decision to expand and maintain the infrastructure in one region and not another is up to those in power. And therein lies the problem: Ethnic and religious minorities who are excluded from their country's political process may also be systematically excluded from the global internet.

Advocacy of individual economic freedom is often criticized because, among the many possible exercises of that freedom, is radical capitalism: the single-minded pursuit of profits over all other social concerns. Yet, a dedication to monetary profit alone in such conditions as described in the linked study would be preferable to the actual circumstance: a dedication to denying an oppressed group a vital service. Certainly there is much to be made by selling these groups internet service and someone is forgoing profits by not making those sales. More accurately, someone is compelled by government to forgo profits.

If all you want to do is make big profits, by definition you do not want to limit those profits by declining sales to politically unpopular groups.

The economist Milton Friedman said, "Human freedom and economic freedom work together." I disagree because that understates the connectedness of those freedoms; the two are one-in-the-same.


Comment We Risk Programming Inequality into Our DNA? (Score 4, Interesting) 367

from the ./ summary:

We Risk Programming Inequality into Our DNA ...With gene editing, this may be possible. Scientists are pioneering the ability to tweak our DNA to wipe out disease and maybe even allow us to choose desirable traits in our unborn children, like height or intelligence.

That is a rather stupid take on the issue for at least two reasons:

First, the situation at present is that humans already have unequal genetic gifts. Genetic engineering will enable us to help those who are deficient, to aid those (or the children of those) who suffer from from lousy genetic makeup. Think of it as eugenics done right; We do not exterminate or sterilize the genetically deficient, instead we enhance the genes of their offspring and let them carry on. That would increase, not decrease equality.

Second, we should be concerned with improved well-being of society as a whole, instead of (as appears the poster to be) obsessed with a perverse desire to make everyone equal. Making just only one person in the world better off is always a Pareto improvement but can either increase or decrease equality.


Comment make the punishment fit the crime (Score 5, Insightful) 124

So a few months ago, because I could not find the information anywhere on the entire internet, I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation to estimate how much more polluted the air in the U.S. is as a result of the VW emissions cheat. The answer is that the air is about zero percent more polluted because of that cheat.

The reason for that is that baseline emissions of diesel exhaust pollutants in the U.S. is so enormous. Commercial diesel tractor trailers emit pollutants at a much higher rate than do VW cars because the engines are so much larger and consume fuel at higher rates. The trucks run many more miles per years than the cars. There are many more diesel trucks than diesel cars. (There a lot of trucks and VW diesel cars are not huge sellers in the U.S.) So the net percentage increase in pollution because of that cheat calculates out to about zero.

VW is worth a lot of money and has not much political clout in the U.S. so this turned into feeding frenzy for lawyers. Penalties of this size are entirely unjustified by the degree of harm.

There should be a price for polluting, based strictly on the types and volumes of pollutants, and it should be applied to all, regardless of the type of vehicle or its nation of origin, or its owner. The right solution here is to tax vehicle exhaust emissions at a single universal rate and let manufacturers and buyers decide what to make and what to buy.

What we have instead is sanctioned pillaging.


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