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Comment Re: Mall shooting in Germany (Score 1) 193

Also realize the rate of gun deaths typically includes people shot in self defense protecting their life or a family member.

Well it's a good thing this particular list is for intentional homicides, defense is excluded. See here for definitions: https://www.unodc.org/document...
That being said, the US is about double Belgium, and far less than South Africa or Brazil.

Comment Re: The Republicans want to make everyone work (Score 2, Insightful) 1145

>> the people at the top of our economic system make money by doing basically nothing other than loaning out their money.

Hold on, buddy. Let's take a simpler case: that of a surplus. Suppose you earn $10 but you only spend $9. You now have a $1 surplus. If you do this ten times, you'd have a $10 surplus in your bank. You could then live one pay cycle without income or "doing nothing" as you put it. That doesn't make you "evil", that makes you prudent. You've earned that right... much more so than someone who spent $11, earned $10, and now needs a bailout from someone else.

When you come in and look at this after the fact and say, "look at that rich bastard, sitting on his ass", you're really deeply twisting the situation by not examining how we got there in the first place.

If you take away the ability for people to earn, keep, and invest a surplus, you take away the incentive to produce anything beyond what you personally need in the near term. Production is the foundation of wealth. All of these dollar bills mean nothing without it.

You're so focused on "haves" and "have nots". But how did the haves get to have? That's the important question. Most of us earned it through honest means: building and selling products and services to others who needed them.

To read your post is to believe that anyone who ever built anything is a thief, and anyone who ever didn't build anything is a hero. Isn't precisely the opposite true? Shouldn't we be celebrating people who built the goods and services we rely on?

Except that's not how it works. The "haves" earn $10, but receive income of $3000 by making sure other people who earned $10 only receive income of $9. Then everyone has roughly the same $11 cost, but the "haves" have a $2989 surplus and the "have nots" have a $1 debt. Further the surplus is then given to children of the "haves" who earned $0, but start with surpluses undreamed of by the "have nots".
That's extreme income inequality, and that's what people are complaining about. The person pulling themselves up by their bootstraps to become one of the "haves" is almost but not quite mythical. Most people that are thought of being in that category had backing that a "have not" doesn't have access to.

Comment Re:It isn't "stolen"! (Score 1) 153

It would also not be stealing to make a replica car or food dish. Misappropriating IP has several names depending on exactly what you are doing, but none of them is "stealing". And AFAIK, none of them are criminal in the U.S. (they're all civil offenses).
It's only theft if the thing being stolen is removed from the person possessing it.

Comment Re:Generators (Score 1) 637

The calculation that Munroe used to calculate the entropy of "correcthorsebatterystaple"
only applies to a series of random characters.

In the calculation each word is treated as one character and generated randomly from a list of 2048 words (in the comic, real life could use more). Number of characters (4) * number of bits of entropy per character (11) yields 44 bits of entropy.

Comment Re:Neighboring Countries (Score 1) 231

Or they could just build the first intercontinental underwater superconducting power line. You'd probably have to build several floating heat exchangers along the route, but in principle, I don't think there's anything preventing you from running a cable from Chile all the way to the U.S. west coast. And as long as it is HVDC, you don't have to worry about phase issues.

Plate Tectonics, North and South America are moving in opposite directions.

The entire run is along the Ring of Fire. It still might work, but it adds another layer to the already large cost of such a line.

Comment Re:And this will change nobody's minds.. (Score 1) 378

... and have a history of lawsuits against independent farmers for allegedly stealing seeds.

The farmers that were sued openly, flagrantly and repeatedly violated IP laws. The most famous example is Perry Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer who was sued by Monsanto, after he intentionally and repeatedly used patented glyphosate resistant seed. He was the subject of the wildly inaccurate documentary "David versus Monsanto". The widely held belief that Monsanto has sued farmers for innocent and unintentional infringement due to pollen blowing in on the wind is baloney.

Note: Most patents for glyphosate (Roundup) resistant seeds have expired, and farmers can now grow and replant soybean and canola (rapeseed) license free.

The Schmeiser case is exactly why this IP law is bad. And it does provide a marked difference between GMO and human-led breeding. He was able to get the seed initially because it blew onto his farm. He was not sued for the wind-blown seed. But once the seed was on his prooperty he was able to harvest and reuse it. He was sued when his crop was 95%-98% roundup resistant. However, the method of obtaining the seed was reproduction. Not theft. That's why it was IP law, and why it's BS.
Also I'm not sure what repeatedly means in this instance. From what I can tell it was Schmeiser's 1998 crop, and he was exclusively sued for that crop. I'm not finding other years in which he infringed intentionally.

Comment Re:"Einstein was working on this just before he di (Score 1) 189

Einstein was working on a Grand Unified Theory for decades before he died, but he came nowhere close.
It didn't help that he was sceptical about quantum mechanics (especially aspects like non-locality and entanglement).

This is a completely different kind of GUT, related only by the fact that it is designed to reduce to General Relativity in the classical limit.

Well where has embracing the "weird" aspects of quantum mechanics actually taken us besides horribly misunderstood analogies?

You should avoid saying things like that while using semiconductors.

Comment Re:Exponential: Exponent=2. Big laugh. (Score 1) 216

Letting people get away with using the word "exponential" as a figurative description of increase is common, but when people use that word in the strict mathematical sense and incorrectly state that x^2 is exponential . . well, that's a different matter entirely.

I remember getting in an argument with someone who felt that using the word exponential to describe an expected 3% growth per annum was hyperbole. I tried to point out that it met the literal definition, since the function was 1.03^x, but they wouldn't believe me.

Comment Re: Let's just get the makers vs takers out of th (Score 1) 1116

America isn't all extremes. Set BI to what it takes to survive in a moderate city, say something like Virginia Beach, VA. Maybe determine the median income of the 35th-100th largest MSAs (metro area) in the US and do something with that number.

Comment Re:*TRIGGERED* (Score 1) 571

They do. Most have the choice of male/female as well as several dialects but a female voice is generally more pleasant to listen to for both male listeners and female listeners which is why it is the default.

I had assumed it was partly cultural. In Star Trek, the voice of the computer is Marina Sirtis. In order to contrast, alien computers tend to be voiced by men. This seems to be true in other franchises as well. Culturally, Americans seem to expect that our computers will have feminine voices.

Comment Re: They want people to pay for backround music on (Score 1) 209

To give a very small smidge of credit to Disney, they are transformative when they steal. Their adaptations are frequently unfaithful. Sometimes things are so blended, it's difficult to see the source https://www.youtube.com/watch?....

That being said, culture is a blender, and holding it hostage for 100 years cripples the next Disney. I like 20 years as a good baseline.
We do have to be careful. I believe copyright is enforced in certain treaties, so we would need to possibly fight the world if we reverted to a shorter copyright.

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