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Comment Re:How America has withered ... (Score 0) 416

I'm sorry, but "things like immigration reform, gay rights, abortion" aren't "distractions" to the 11 million undocumented workers living in this country, the millions of gay and lesbian citizens living without the full protection of the law, or the women in states that either require invasive, unnecessary medical procedures to get a safe and legal abortion (or those living in states that don't have an abortion provider at all).

The fact that you consider these things distractions indicates that you are already largely protected by our legal system without the need to worry about persecution for things less trivial than what you do with your cell phone. That's a good thing. We should all enjoy these protections (including the legal freedom do whatever we want with our personal electronics). I just ask that you please stop and think before you dismiss the issues confronting our country as distractions for "the masses."

Comment Re:Illegal... (Score 1) 149

I'm surprised at the lack of outrage. BART is a governmental agency, with devolved powers from the State of California, its own police force, and a charter. If a city or county cut off wireless communication to prevent a protest, it would fly in the face of our incorporated first amendment rights to speech and assembly. From a legal standpoint, BART is held to the same standard.

Comment Re:Make your own decision! (Score 4, Insightful) 372

There are a lot of fantastical views about the role of the Supreme Court and ones personal interpretation of the Constitution, but as it stands, the SCOTUS is a purely reactive branch. It's not their job to make policy, nor should it be.

Even with the recent Affordable Care Act oral arguments, you heard Supreme Court justices voicing their reluctance to wade through the bill to figure out where to sever the individual mandate. The court was not consulted on the constitutionality of the PATRIOT act or the most recent NDAA before they were passed. Someone has to actively sue (and have standing to sue, under federal law,) to even bring it to their attention. This might not be ideal, since it would be very difficult sue the federal government over indefinite detention while having the standing to do so, but it's how our government works.

On this issue, it makes sense. The SCOTUS is merely asking the other branches of government "hey, there's a problem with your law. How would you solve it?" before writing a precedent-setting decision.

Comment Re:Or we could save 25% off the bat (Score 1) 545

Also, I take issue with this meme that 25% of all those incarcerated are locked up ONLY for non-violent drug charges. For that to be true, it would require that ON AVERAGE one in for convicts behind bars was guilty of either using or selling drugs, without any associated crimes, like robbery, assault, possession of a gun, etc., and that is simply unbelievable.

Drug users poison themselves, and I find very few possession charges of "individual use" quantities of drugs that carry mandatory prison time...

Up until a few weeks ago, possession of crack cocaine (but not powder) carried a minimum five-year sentence.

Not only was the minimum sentence a ridiculous circumvention of our judicial system, having it only apply to crack cocaine possession unduly targets low income users/addicts (who statistically tend to be underrepresented minorities).

Comment Re:Bad Idea... (Score 2, Insightful) 134

Let the citizens choose what their public land is used for. If an ISP wants to use that land to lay cable, they should be accountable to the citizens because their land is being used.

People tend to forget that the citizens are the government. It's not "you vs. them." If you don't like something "the government" (aka "the people we elected") is doing, get involved and fix it. Whining about "tyrrany" and mailing teabags doesn't count.

Comment Re:Think of the dangers, though. (Score 1) 454

When I moved to Taiwan, I found that there are trash cans next to every toilet, for that specific reason. Apparently a while ago their plumbing just couldn't handle toilet paper and the older generations still have the habit of trashing it.

It's really gross, but you don't need to leave this planet to find that.

Comment Re:GPS affected? (Score 1) 374

The satellites' orbits (which you calculate your position from) are calculated from the ranges to a network of ground stations with really expensive receivers mounted to bedrock. I heard through the grapevine that a couple sites in Chile slipped a few meters and that made the orbit products that geodesists use really crappy unless they took those sites out (because they assumed the old positions). The real-time orbits (less precise) that are broadcast from the satellites are produced by the Department of Defense, and their sites are usually on US military bases. Their orbits (and therefore any of the military equipment that depends on the real-time orbits) probably weren't affected by the quake.

Comment Re:Meanwhile (Score 1) 1136

We have satellites doing centimeter-level laser altimetry with millimeter-level orbit determination flying around the globe every few hours measuring ocean height. When the data from those no longer correlates with the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, I will stop concerning myself with AGW. Same goes for the glacier ice levels.

Until then, you can talk about how much snow or the local temperature until you get bored. AGW doesn't try to predict any of those. It predicts that the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere will increase the temperatures of the global climate (over decades). All the other anecdotes are secondary.

Comment Re:hmm (Score 1) 316

Actually GLONASS is so different (uses a different reference ellipsoid, for starters), that only recently has anyone been able to add GLONASS measurements to GPS and not made the resulting solution worse. But hopefully that will change. With GLONASS modernization, they're supposed to make it all more GPS-like (use WGS-84, switch from FDMA to CDMA, etc)

Comment Re:They can't control external websites (Score 1) 235

Youtube is nice because it's accessible from a lot of places that other flash videos aren't (iPhones and AppleTVs come to mind, for me at least)

i wish my local weather video podcast used youtube instead of its own proprietary flash video player, so i could watch it on my iphone instead of having to use a computer.

also, during the campaign, the obama camp released an iphone app that had youtube links to all of their latest ads and video press releases. it was actually really useful for me when i was running around canvassing for them.

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