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Comment Re:...and... (Score 4, Insightful) 381

It's a good thing this sort of quackery is limited to India and Russia. I'd be pretty embarrassed if we had some of our people claiming that the world was only a few thousand years old, that climate change doesn't exist, and that we didn't evolve over time but were all designed by a supernatural entity.

These two situations are not comparable. Yes, the United States has Creationists and such, but they tend to move in their own circles, and even in academia they are found at private Christian universities. In India and Russia however, one tends to see a lot of quackery coming from state-run universities. This is probably facilitated by stronger job security (against much lower salaries) for certain faculty, combined with lower barriers to publication.

To some extent. But the claims on ancient indian technology are religious-based as well, in most respects. And what an indian government official says is not necessarily a shared opinion of the actual academics. As a side note, my recollection is that the pythagorean theorem being first discovered in India actually has some credibility, the rest of the examples are utter garbage of course.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 2) 252

I was using boot floppies until about 2006. Currently CDs and USB thumb drives. I can see how govt would hate using thumb drives (a rogue thumb drive could mimic any USB device), but all the optical drives should be fine. Securely erasing them is impossible, so shred & melt...

The reason the government hates thumb drives is because they are very small, and can store LOTS of data. Even in unclassified areas, the government tends not to want them around anything even the slightest bit sensitive. I would be surprised if they're permitted anywhere near the white house, and wouldn't be surprised if most of the computers in the white house are configured to disallow them. A floppy is harder to smuggle, and carries less per disk. Enough floppies to store a gigabyte of data is nearly impossible to hide from the secret service (well, so one would hope, but then . . . )

Comment Re:AI is always "right around the corner". (Score 1) 564

My greatgrandchildren may just live to see the day when the computing field accepts that AI just isn't going to happen!

Probably you're right. On the other hand, I had lunch the day before yesterday with a man who built a circuit board that helped a man take back off from the moon after landing on it. And it certainly wasn't something he expected to happen when he started his career working on the first hi-fi speakers. Striving for better computers isn't a bad thing. We just shouldn't hold our breaths.

Comment Re:Christmas is coming early this year (Score 1) 702

So the thing is... this isn't really new. I can remember back long before there even WAS a TSA, back when laptops were the hot new portable device . . . And security would often ask you to power it on. And if its battery was dead, you could plug it in first. I agree it can be a bit of a problem because batteries often get used up in the course of travel, and I'd be interested to see how security actually handles it. I traveled just a few days ago, and they certainly weren't requiring EVERY passenger to demonstrate their devices. Also: When first going through security, I very rarely have a problem with my phone being dead because, you know, I'm just STARTING to travel, not after a long day of it. (Although I won't say never. It has happened)

Comment Re:that crazy old IRS (Score 1) 208

My allegation was that the IRS chose to be stricter with than it is with other nonprofits.

3 years of silence and then a sudden tax exempt revoke is a very cagey response to 3 years of not filing any tax returns.

The IRS shouldn't have waited that long without sending notice.

The fact that the feds and the corporations are in bed elsewhere is also a good reason to at least suspect underhandedness on the IRS's part.

Actually, that's pretty normal for the IRS. The IRS is not, actually, much in the habit of giving warnings. It takes them a while to get around to things, and once they do, its pay-up-or-else (or revocation or whatever). They aren't well enough funded to bother with warning notices, or hearings, etc. If you disagree with their finding, there are things one can do and an appeals process, but generally they don't initiate such things except in certain categories of audit issues.

Comment Re:Who else should comment on your games? (Score 1) 381

I work for Microsoft.

I have never in my life received an actual death threat, and I have a feeling the products I work on are used by more people than what play Call of Duty. It's not a matter of "just ignore them", it's more of a matter that this kind of reaction can be received for any work of mostly non-offensive (not all of CoD applies here) art.

More likely, its just that people don't know who you are. Game Development shops have a bit more cult of personality about them, as they tend to have credit screens like movies, not like office products. I can assure you that if you, say, work on exchange, you have had many people wish you dead, just most people don't know how to inform you of their desire ;)

Comment Re:Gotta have a plan (Score 2) 330

People suspect that many things work and sometimes they are wrong.

"'no experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA" in treating alcoholism." (

Well controlled scientific studies are great at answering these questions.

and for some things, its very hard to set up an ethical and moral controlled scientific study. In a case like this the best you can do is try to study people who have already elected for various treatments. And the 'anonymous' part of AA (and various other programs) just complicates it all. "Unequivocally demonstrated" is a difficult bar to meet when its not actually legal to set up a properly controlled experiment. Don't get me wrong, I haven't reviewed the literature either way, and don't have an opinion on the effectiveness of AA. Just want to point out that actually achieving a clean methodology and such to study things that screw with people's lives is quite difficult.

Comment Re:That's fine (Score 2) 234

Because many organizations have weird and bizarre rules for passwords that are not based on actual truth of what makes a secure password. My current favorite is 16! Characters, no words, at least 2 each of special characters, numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters. i.e. so long that NO ONE can remember the things if they're truly randomized. Although they're supposedly switching that particular circumstance over to token-based.

Comment Re:What do you mean "we"? (Score 1) 469

I'm pretty sure you can add in the costs accrued due to lost work and legal fees to your small claims suit, so point one is moot.

So, I can't speak for your state, but in maryland it states in black and white that you CANNOT be paid for your time, and that legal fees are only a maybe. And the official website on the subject goes to some effort to basically point out that for small amounts, it may not be worth the time to pursue the court option. Small claims is not really an option to resolve this except as a matter of principle.

Comment Re:Nope. (Score 1) 309

Only innocent til proven guilty in criminal cases. Also, who is Bradley Manning, who is Kevin Mitnick... The US is one of very few western countries that has a large part of the country speaking against health-care. The US tortures people. The US pretty much ignores all international treaties, that would have them do something.

The US is not a great country when it comes to human rights.

Ummm. Just for the record, the US has one of the best records in the world for obeying the treaties THAT IT SIGNS AND RATIFIES. Better, in fact (though I can't remember the citation) than most other western nations. Granted, we also sign far fewer of them than, say, the average european nation. But I am not aware of a single treaty we are a signatory to that we can be said to ignore (even the torture thing, we carefully crafted the 'enemy combatant' legal justification within the treaty for our actions. It could, I grant, be argued as thin -- although probably not, the geneva convention is a lot narrower than people make out, especially if you view it in its proper historical context -- but we expended a lot of effort on it.) Most of the treaties we HAVE ignored (Kyoto protocol, world court, etc. etc.) we are not parties to, even though, admittedly, in many cases we had a great deal to do with their construction.

Comment Re:Haha (Score 1) 437

I presume you are referring to US Dollars.

From the perspective of anyone outside the US, Bitcoin is a safer bet than the USD, although the risk is of a somewhat different nature: Bitcoins can go up or down. The USD only goes down, and there is no obvious reason why the rate of decline should not accelerate rapidly. (Ask around in a few African countries if military threats can prevent currency decline - many have tried the tactic, and none have seen it work!)

This is true, except one key point: USD investments pay interest, bitcoins are just like stuffing gold (but way more volatile) in a high-tech mattress. So a USD investment may not necessarily go down, and is generally likely to hold about par, whereas a Bitcoin can go up or down.

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