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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.


Comment think of the children... (Score 1) 760

However, seven states who implemented drug testing for tax benefit program recipients spent $1 million on drug testing from the inception of their programs through 2014. But the average rate of drug use among those recipients has been far below the national average -- around 1% overall, compared with 9.4% in the general population

People who grow marijuana and smoke it should be prohibited from receiving government aid, but if you can not get a job because you are a chronically lazy, chain-smoking obese alcoholic with a porn addiction and a gambling compulsion then you are welcome to government handouts. What kind of incentive is that?

Conditioning government aid on actual need would be more appealing if the people devising policy were not imbeciles.

They could start by weighing fat people before giving them food stamps (SNAP). Your income is seized, under threat of prosecution, fines and imprisonment, to fund other people making themselves unhealthily fat. Your income is seized, under threat of prosecution, fines and imprisonment to pay for "free" health care required for medical treatments incurred from that obesity. "Your tax dollars go to save the lives of staving orphans" has more appeal when you are actually paying to save the lives of starving orphans and not buy groceries for that lardass blocking the aisle at the grocery on her i-am-to-fat-to-walk scooter with a cartload of donuts and steak, and then pay her medical bills.

Comment Lynch will indict (Score 2, Insightful) 742

"[Assange] doesn't think it will happen under Attorney General Loretta Lynch. "

Obama will not do anything to damage Hillary's chances of winning the election but there will be a limit to how much of a corrupt jackass Obama is willing to make himself look like to help here out. We already know, based on evidence released publicly, that Hillary is guilty and a crazy liar, so if Obama's justice department does not indict he goes down in history as the U.S. President more corrupt than Nixon.

A prediction: Obama has Lynch slow-walk the decision to indict until after Hillary is elected in November 2016, they they indict her. After Hillary takes office in January 2017, she pardons herself.

Comment P.T. Barnum in a Steve Jobs Turtleneck (Score 1) 65

Now, finally, the fraud of Elizabeth Holmes will be revealed. She can deny all she likes but she has known about this from the beginning.

Someone recently called her "P.T. Barnum in a Steve Jobs Turtleneck," but that comparison is unfair to Barnum. Barnum promoted a product which is legitimately intangible: entertainment. Holmes is also promoting something intangible, but which actually needs to exist and work to have value: blood tests.

Comment I hate coding (Score 1) 192

And that is precisely why I am good at it. I would never write long-winded BS that was mostly copy-pasted, loaded with huge if-else chains that can't be unit tested.
At my current job I delete more code than I produce. I refactor the BS written by junior coders in the past ten years and it is not uncommon to replace 100 lines of code with 2 or 3. Deleting BS code is so satisfying 3
"Work smarter, not harder!"

Comment Soylent Green (Score 1) 414

If the rich don't suddenly turn half the world into an authoritarian regime, start killing the poor and feeding them to each other, civil unrest may lead to war and massively thin the population. Or what have you. The UN predicts the world population will peak at 9 billion and then go down on its own...

Comment vs. OS X Dashboard (Score 2) 48

I am back to developing on Linux after a long stint on OS X and one thing I really miss now is the OS X Dashboard widgets.

Ubuntu is way behind OS X here, even if they integrated a Dashboard clone the ecosystem of widgets would be far behind and never catch up. But Ubuntu could leapfrog the OS X Dashboard by absorbing Chrome's support for Android widgets into an integrated Dashboard clone.

Comment Re:You will own nothing (Score -1) 63

None of my old CDs work anymore. You thought you owned yours forever? You must be young.
Nothing is permanent. Everybody dies. Everything will rot away. In order to preserve anything, you must continuously renew and repair it. This incurs an ongoing cost. You can pay for it yourself with your own time and money, or have someone take care of that for you. Like a landlord, or Apple.

Comment Only took 70 years (Score 2) 112

It has been 70 years already since the first nuclear bombs were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is only to be expected that scientific and technological progress democratizes these things. My phone has more computing power than every single 1945 computer in the world put together.
Millions of people know fairly advanced physics and electronics.

Comment Jerry Ehman (Score 4, Interesting) 96

When I was about 7 years old Jerry Ehman rode down to Kentucky with us in the family station wagon from Powell, Ohio to Kentucky to go spelunking. We lived a few houses down the street from the assistant director of the Big Ear radio observatory who organized the trip and who invited along coworkers and friends. All the radio observatory guys on the trip were full-time radio geeks, including Jerry, who brought his own CB radio on the trip and installed it in our car before we left. This was so we could keep in touch with the other vehicles on the drive down. Jerry had temporarily disconnected our am/fm car radio antenna to wire in his CB. So he is explaining this to me as my father drives down the highway to Kentucky. Being 7, of course I asked "but what if we want to listen to the radio?". Jerry, who was riding in the center of the front bench seat of the station wagon, replies that he can switch back and forth between them. Then he immediately inverts himself in the car seat with his feet up in the air and his head pushed up under the dashboard holding a handful of tools. A few minutes later the car radio is working again.

By the way, the radio observatory at which Jerry recorded the Wow! signal no longer exits. It was a joint project between Ohio State and Ohio Wesleyan universities. It was constructed and managed by the Ohio State University but located on land owned by Ohio Wesleyan University which sold it to developers to build a golf source. There was an international effort to preserve it, Nobel price winners and other notables campaigned for it. Wesleyan believed that a golf course was much more important than SETI. "Ignorant small-town hicks" would not go far enough to describe that school.

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