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Comment Re:What does Jail achieve? (Score 1) 191

Deterrence is very much part of any justice system, and always has been. When a court is confronted with antisocial behavior that is clearly becoming more common, he will often use his sentence to send a message to other potential offenders. The judicial system is not a binary yes/no machine.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 1) 106

that would be an interesting twist: lots of new beachfront property.

As opposed to what is going to happen, which is lots of old properties become beachfront :)

Well, maybe you're right, but even if this was something of a 1970s meme, the fact was that it was at best a view held by all a minority of researchers, and even those researchers weren't proposing that Ice Age was going to happen any time soon, save perhaps in geological time.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 1) 106

It sounds more like anecdotal claims of dubious merit to me. I've suspected for several years now that posters who proclaim that they were told this by college profs were either exaggerating or simply making it up, basing it on something they read elsewhere on the Internet. As it is, even the article I mention suggests that, at the time, there were some legitimate fears that sulfur dioxide aerosols from industrial pollution could lead to cooling, but that that view was only held by a minority of climatologists, and never really seems to have been viewed by the wider scientific community as a significant issue. Fifty years ago, the research was much as it is today, that human CO2 emissions will trap more energy in the lower atmosphere and lead to surface warming. In reality, AGW is about as controversial in the scientific community as biological evolution or Big Bang cosmology.

Comment Re:The benefits of Single Payer (Score 1) 112

I can only speak to the work I've done in a fairly small project that merged multiple sources and creating a set of file formats and protocols to communicate changes. It certainly wasn't trivial even in my case, and working with vendors to create interfaces in their own applications to work with these protocols could be a challenge. I suppose in many instances with aging infrastructure, you may also be dealing with fairly old systems where finding expertise to actual build interfaces could be a problem. But the theory I was operating under is that you create a common environment that discrete systems can push to and pull from was still a lot cheaper and manageable than telling everyone involved "We're moving you over to a new system".

It seems rather odd to me, as a person who comes from a networking background, that there would be this obsession over running the identical application, or running a centralized application, in all agencies or departments, is necessary or even desirable. The world I started out my professional life in was dominated by networking protocols, whether we're talking low-level data exchange protocols like TCP/IP or NETBIOS or higher level protocols like SMTP. One never really expected that all front end applications would function the same, or possibly even do precisely the same things, but you built message-exchanging protocols, databases and file formats that captured the data and activities that could at a minimum be expected by all the front-facing high level applications, and then the only problem you might have to deal with is where one particular application didn't support all the necessary features.

This monolithic system approach just seems so very 1950s-1960s to me, and suffers the same kinds of problems that older approach often had, with too many critical failure points that would simply bring an entire system down, where having a distributed system with multiple independent or semi-independent nodes meant that failures were at least limited, and the wider system could still function. It strikes me that the current drive in many governments towards monolithic centralized CRM-style applications is the product of both heavy sales pressure from big guys like HP and Oracle, and a lack of perspective and experience by organizational IT decision-makers.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 2) 106

From what I can gather, the actual researchers suggesting a new Ice Age were not talking in fact about an imminent return of continent-spanning glaciers. That was hyperbole by science journalists of the time. This is why I find people who make claims of the state of any area of research based upon what some science reporter in a newspaper or magazine writes is a pretty dubious activity. Science journalists, to put it bluntly, spend their days sexing up often rather mundane or esoteric research into something that can produce "wow-pow!" headline, often betraying their own ignorance of the research in question.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 1) 106

And once again, what does the musings of a Law Professor in 1970 have to do with the state of the science in 1970? I don't give a flying f--- about 1970 climate zeitgeist. That's not the claim. The claim is clearly that climatologists in the 1970s believed the world was entering a new glacial period soon.

According to Skeptical Science, there were something like seven research papers in the period mentioning cooling, as opposed to over forty talking about temperature rises due to CO2. https://skepticalscience.com/i...

The Skeptical Science entry goes further to suggest that some of the reasons some researchers were positing cooling was due to SO2 releases at the time. One can debate whether those releases would have slowed temperature increases, but seeing as that SO2 limits were put in place, that's rather a moot point.

So what we have is a few alarmist articles of the period, little of their content apparently based on climatology research even at the time, and the usual anecdotal claims of "I remember my professor/teacher/some guy on TV saying the ice age was coming." In other words, no, few if any climatologists actual thought there was an ice age, and by that point, even 45-47 years ago, global warming due to human CO2 emissions was seen as a real phenomenon.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 3, Insightful) 106

Do you have any citations in peer reviewed literature from the period? Do you think a Time Magazine article quoting a fucking law professor somehow constitutes an expansive statement on the view of climatologists in 1970?

JEsus Christ, the extent the deniers will go to is just fucking stunning. Since the heyday of the Creationists, it's hard to imagine a more motivated, and yet more fundamentally moronic group of people than the web forum climate skeptic.

Comment Re:The benefits of Single Payer (Score 1, Troll) 112

Well, just wait for it to get worse. As the Republicans shambolically move towards repeal of Obamacare, it already looks like the replacement will likely be worse than what came before Obamacare. How a first world nation can have some of the worst health care outcomes in the industrialized world baffles me.

Comment Re:The benefits of Single Payer (Score 4, Interesting) 112

Having witnessed the creation of a centralized IT system close up, I have seen just how disastrous, and ultimately how expensive the results can be. I think the logic behind unifying infrastructure is seductive, but rarely does anyone honestly assess the massive costs, because if they did, no government would ever pay for it. So you put together an upgrade plan that has an absurdly low pricetag, knowing full well that by the time the job is actually done (if it is ever completed), the costs will be orders of a magnitude greater. The critical step to this "unlimited budget via the back door" is to bring the new system up, regardless of how far away from actual completion and stability it is, then immediately shut down the old systems, shred the hard drives and dispose of the hardware, so that no one can ever contemplate returning to the old system as a standby. This is critical. You have to make the cost of retreating back over the proverbial Rubicon so great that you end up being stuck with the new system, and thus with the costs of making it work.

To my mind, the more logical way to approach this is to create a centralized RDBMS, make sure that all the disparate systems at least can regularly vomit out a batch job in one common format, and dump it to the RDBMS. Over time you could conceivably use this new database as a the core of replacement systems, or not , as you choose. I've worked on this kind of system before, puking out batch exports from one system, throwing it into another database and then processing, reporting or whatever it is you want to do, and then pushing changes back up to the systems. It was all done with common shared import/export formats. Now admittedly this does mean having to write code for each system, but that is almost invariably a fraction of the workload of building an entire replacement system and then spending years of ever-inflating budgets, downtime, and in the case of a police force, possibly even risking lives.

But companies like Deloitte, IBM and HP have basically made selling "unified solutions" that inevitably turn into IT catastrophes a vast cash cow, and so long as they can con bureaucrats and politicians into buying into their bullshit, they'll keep making money hand over fist even as the products they roll out remain utter shit.

Comment Re:Didn't some country do this? (Score 1) 85

That is true enough. And even though OpenOffice and LibreOffice are more than capable of doing almost all the tasks one can ask from an office suite, there are enough differences between that and MS Office that one can get tricked up. But the reality here is that whenever you bring in new software, you have to put resources into training. With MS-Office being near-ubiquitous, organizations and firms tend to have the expectation that existing staff and new hires are just going to know at least the basics, and with MS having done what I think anybody can see as an excellent job with low-cost editions for students and the like, MS-Office is a software ecosystem with a high degree of penetration. Frankly, in my company, I haven't seen a CV cross my desk in years that didn't cite experience with Word and Excel, which means that even if I wanted to save money on licensing, and go with LibreOffice or OpenOffice, I'd end up having to do a lot of training and support, and while I suspect the cost of retraining existing staff would be lower, it would also mean having to train every new employee, so in a way, you have a recurring cost that may end up not being that much different than MS licensing.

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