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Comment Yes, Obamacare helped ruin health insurance... (Score 0, Flamebait) 479

...in order to force taxpayer-funded abortions on the American public.

You may think that's an exaggeration, but look how tenaciously Nancy Pelosi insisted on the provision during the debate over Obamacare, forcing Stupak's block of flippers to cave rather than give it up.

Look how fervently the Obama Administration insisted that the Little Sister of the Poor must pay for abortifacients rather than come to an accommodation as required by the law.

ObamaCare was meant to fail as a means of forcing the full socialization of American medicine, true. But it was also designed as an instrument of the culture war, and one Democrats were determined to defend no matter how many legislators lost their seats over it.

And as for the current state of ObamaCare, take a look here.


US Life Expectancy Declines For the First Time Since 1993 (washingtonpost.com) 479

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source) -- a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States. Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death. The new report raises the possibility that major illnesses may be eroding prospects for an even wider group of Americans. Its findings show increases in "virtually every cause of death. It's all ages," said David Weir, director of the health and retirement study at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Over the past five years, he noted, improvements in death rates were among the smallest of the past four decades. "There's this just across-the-board [phenomenon] of not doing very well in the United States." Overall, life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, from 78.9 in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015, according to the latest data. The last time U.S. life expectancy at birth declined was in 1993, when it dropped from 75.6 to 75.4, according to World Bank data. The overall death rate rose 1.2 percent in 2015, its first uptick since 1999. More than 2.7 million people died, about 45 percent of them from heart disease or cancer.

Comment Re:Preempting Apple (Score 1) 104

Apple is about the last company to incorporate new tech into phones

Multi-touch capacitive touch screen. Accelerometers. Reversible data / charging port that can be used when flipped either way. Haptic feedback engine (not talking about just vibration). Using the body of the phone as the antenna. Those are just some I can name off the top of my head.

Just the capacitive touch screen alone is what revolutionized mobile devices.

Comment Preempting Apple (Score 1) 104

Both of these design changes (screen taking up the entire face of the device, home button integrated into the display) are also rumors that have been floating around for the iPhone 8. The iPhone 7's design that changed the home button from a physical button to a capacitive touch "button" using the haptic feedback engine was an incremental step towards that end. Samsung is trying to preempt Apple and get a phone to market first that incorporates the rumors of what Apple is going to do.

Comment Re:I doubt this is correct (Score 1) 285

This actually contributes to the theory of this story. One battery manufacturer used slightly better / thicker insulators between the layers in the battery, thus they better withstood the design flaw that resulted in excessive pressure on the battery. However that just reduced the frequency of failure, but still didn't prevent it entirely.

Comment What a stupid question (Score 1) 588

This is just stupid. Why would anyone ask Twitter to do anything of the sort? It's like asking Ford Motor Company "Would you build electric chairs?" Of course they'll say no, just for the PR and to not alienate customers, since they know the government is not going to ask them to build electric chairs.

The fact of the matter is any of several thousand software companies could easily throw together a registry of this kind. It's straightforward stuff. Heck, outsource it to India. They'd have no problem doing it even knowing what it would be used for.

Comment Very interesting, but could cause other problems (Score 2) 65

This is pretty cool. I think in general it's a good idea, however I can see it causing entirely new sets of problems. As drivers we recognize the difference between what we ought to do, and what we must do. For example, there are times when crossing a double yellow line would result in my death, while there are other times I cross the double yellow line safely and without risk to avoid a hazard in my lane or on the shoulder. My concern is people will start seeing these visual aids as things they *must* do. Thus in the process of trying to adhere exactly to the virtual markings, they become oblivious to the actual hazards that are more important. In one of the pictures they show two lane markers projected, which is where the car ideally should travel. On the right there are barriers that are actual hazards that are taking up part of the lane, and to the left is the other lane, which may or may not be an actual hazard. So if I am concentrating on the projected markers (which I assume are "intelligent" because they are dynamic), will it be obvious enough that I am travelling into another lane and that I must make sure the lane is clear of other vehicles first?

The real question though is this... if the car has that much information about the environment to project images that tell you what to do, why isn't the car doing the driving in the first place?


Climate Change Will Stir 'Unimaginable' Refugee Crisis, Says Military (theguardian.com) 331

Citing military experts, The Guardian is reporting that if the rise in global warming is held under 2 degrees Celsius, there still could be a major humanitarian crisis to sort out. From the report: Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of "unimaginable scale," according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the "new normal." The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency. Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required. "Climate change is the greatest security threat of the 21st century," said Maj Gen Munir Muniruzzaman, chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change and a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh. He said one metre of sea level rise will flood 20% of his nation. "Weâ(TM)re going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people."

Comment India just tried to go almost completely cashless (Score 4, Informative) 258

Overnight and without warning, the government banned bills worth more than about $1.50. The result has been an absolute disaster:

97% of the Indian economy is cash-based. With 88% of all outstanding currency no longer usable, the economy is coming to a standstill. The daily-wage laborer, who leads a hand-to-mouth existence in a country with GDP per capita of a mere $1,600, no longer has work, as his employer has no cash to pay his wages. His life is in utter chaos. He is not as smart as Modi — despite the fact that Modi has no real life experience except as a bully and perhaps in his early days as a tea-seller at a train-station. He has no clue where his life is headed from here.

These people are going hungry, and some have begun to raid food shops. People are dying for lack of treatment at hospitals. Old people are dying in the endless queues. Some are killing themselves, as they are unable to comprehend the situation and simply don’t know what to do. There are now hundreds of such stories in the media.

Small businesses are in shambles, and many will probably never recover. The Hindu wedding season has just started and people are left with unusable banknotes. Their personal and family lives are now an utter disaster.

Banks and ATMs are running out of what little cash their is shortly after they open.

The Almighty Buck

South Korea To Kill the Coin in Path Towards 'Cashless Society' (cnbc.com) 258

The central bank in South Korea, one of the world's most technologically advanced and integrated nations, is taking a major step in getting rid of coins in the nation in what is an attempt to become a cashless society. The first step is to get rid of the metal, a feat authorities hope to achieve by 2020. From a report on FT: The Bank of Korea on Thursday announced it will step up its efforts to reduce the circulation of coins, the highest denomination of which is worth less than $0.50. As part of the plan it wants consumers to deposit loose change on to Korea's ubiquitous "T Money" cards -- electronic travel passes that can be used to pay for metro fares, taxi rides and even purchases in 30,000 convenience stores. The proposals are just the latest step for a nation at the forefront of harnessing technology to make citizens' lives more convenient. Online shopping is the norm, as are mobile payments for the country's tech-savvy millennials. South Korea is already one of the least cash-dependent nations in the world. It has among the highest rates of credit card ownership -- about 1.9 per citizen -- and only about 20 percent of Korean payments are made using paper money, according to the BoK. But while convenience is at the crux of the central bank's plan, there are other considerations. The BoK spends more than $40m a year minting coins. There are also costs involved for financial institutions that collect, manage and circulate them.

Submission + - International Authorities Cooperate To Take Down Massive 'Avalanche' Botnet

plover writes: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Eurojust, Europol, and other global partners announced the takedown of a massive botnet named 'Avalanche', estimated to have involved as many as 500,000 infected computers worldwide on a daily basis.

"The global effort to take down this network involved the crucial support of prosecutors and investigators from 30 countries. As a result, five individuals were arrested, 37 premises were searched, and 39 servers were seized. Victims of malware infections were identified in over 180 countries. In addition, 221 servers were put offline through abuse notifications sent to the hosting providers. The operation marks the largest-ever use of sinkholing to combat botnet infrastructures and is unprecedented in its scale, with over 800 000 domains seized, sinkholed or blocked."

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