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Comment Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1633

I find it quite odd that Stevens would make this change, as this was clearly not the intent of the founding fathers. Anyone who's spent even a few minutes with writings such as James Madison's Federalist Paper #46 and a host of other contemporaneous documents would soon be dissuaded of such a delusion as Stevens'.

Comment Re:The Romans found out about lead (Score 2) 780

There's no solid evidence of health risks from thiomersal.

Not in the manner in which you were speaking perhaps. However, I am highly allergic to thiomersal. I first ran into this nasty stuff when it was used as a preservative in contact lens solutions in the early 1980s. I still have one pupil that is slightly more dilated than the other as a result of a relatively brief exposure 30 years ago - a few stubborn days figuring that my new contacts would just take getting used to even while my eyes continued to swell, burn, and turn red as a beet.

This stuff is still used medically in such items as flu vaccine. It's difficult and expensive to secure an alternative vaccine for me come flu season.


NASA's Fermi Spacecraft Dodged a Defunct Russian Satellite 47

g01d4 writes "On March 29, 2012, NASA scientists learned that the space agency's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was headed for a potential conjunction (close approach) with Cosmos 1805, a defunct Russian satellite from the Cold War era. The team knew that the only way to move Fermi would be to fire thrusters designed to move the spacecraft out of orbit at the end of its operating life. On April 3rd, shortly after noon EDT, the space agency fired all thrusters for one second. When it was over, everyone involved 'just sighed with relief that it all went well.' By 1 p.m., the spacecraft had returned to its mission."

Comment Re:Not in Alabama (Score 4, Informative) 118

Not in Tennessee either. We have a rich history of insane alcohol laws and political opposition. For example, a former Speaker of the House, Ned Ray McWherter, who owned a beer distributorship at the time, cleverly crafted the tax schedules for keg beer to exclude, for example, Guinness, which came in an odd-sized keg compared to the domestics which McWherter's distributorship sold. No tax schedule for that size meant that it was not legal to sell here. IIRC it was about a decade after his tenure before the tax schedules were amended to allow for other sizes of kegs.

Even today a liquor license is required to sell beer > 6% ABV. This, of course, applies to wine as well. This means that we get nothing but the low gravity beers in our grocery stores and no wine at all. And the prices at the liquor stores for high gravity beer (what little you can find) and wine are much higher as a result than, for example, in Georgia. Grocery chains like Trader Joe's and Publix are just now making inroads into our great state, largely because of the lunacy of restricted alcohol sales.

Submission + - JotForm domain shut down by US Secret Service (

lomedhi writes: Probably in response to phishers using JotForm's free form service, the Secret Service has seized, denying access to 2 million forms created by 700,000 users. The Secret Service is unresponsive. Who needs SOPA?

The service is now available at alternate domains and, but changing URLs is a serious inconvenience to some. Many are paid corporate clients. Among other things, iPad and iPhone apps that embed forms will have to be re-approved by Apple.


Submission + - Now Default HTTPS By Twitter (

An anonymous reader writes: Twitter announced today that HTTPS will now be on by default for all users signing into The setting became optional last year, but now it’s the norm.

Twitter says on its official blog:

Comment Re:Ohhhh shit (Score 1) 344

In regards to the Nissan LEAF, the base price is just over $35,000. There are tax incentives that bring this figure down somewhat ($7,500 federal, plus possibly state and local tax breaks - yet more government subsidies), but add back the $2,000 home charger and you're back into the $30K range for a compact car (typically a ~$20K segment) that would only seat 5 smaller individuals comfortably for short distances. In this regard, the very limited range of the car is a blessing.

And I just love how the technological limitations of EVs have been magically transformed into a new psychological condition known as "range anxiety". Sub 100 mile range, reduced range in intemperate conditions, reduced range at night, severely reduced flexibility with route planning, virtually no supporting infrastructure for not-at-home charging, long recharge times, and a 50% initial price premium do not a neurosis make.

I'm glad that the LEAF works for you. It just doesn't work for enough of us from a variety of angles to draw the kind of investment that it would take to overcome many of these issues. There's approximately $1T in petroleum refueling infrastructure in the US alone. That's a lot of J1772 and JARI/CHAdeMO charging station investment (money that could go to improving battery/fuel cell R&D instead of feeding a handful of 1st gen plug EVs), not to mention the upgrade to an aging, outdated electrical grid to support the additional load. Even then, patience and significant planning will be necessary within the limits of current battery and charging technology.

Please don't take this wrong. I'd really love to have an EV (Fisker Karma - drool, drool). The instantaneous torque, reduced fuel costs, potentially reduced negative environmental impact, and various other advantages of an advanced EV would be exciting. But, for me, it's got to have at worst a 300 mile range and at most a 15 minute recharge available nearly anywhere I travel to have a broad enough appeal to justify the additional investment that will make a battery-based EV viable. The EV price premium has to be significantly cut as well. Nothing on the horizon that I've seen comes close to this.

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