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Comment Re:Re-writing history are we? (Score 1) 520

Prior to massive regulations insurance was affordable.

Um, that's if they're willing to sell it to you. I could not get insurance for epilepsy pre-ACA because the medications I needed were expensive, and also because people always called 911 after every seizure which meant routine ER visits, about two per month. Since insurers wanted to keep their insurance "affordable" for healthy dickheads trying to decide if they even needed it, that meant telling me GFY- which they did because there were no "massive regulations" preventing them.

Comment Re:Rotten Tomatoes is getting self-important (Score 1) 394

I do the same when looking for a restaurant - find a negative review and they'll tell you everything good about the place that they don't understand.

This. I use this same strategy when evaluating any product. Read a few good reviews, sure, but I need to read a few of the top negative reviews to figure out if the product actually has weaknesses that matter to me, or if it's just been purchased by a few users with unrealistic expectations.

The good thing about negative reviews is they usually aren't placed there by the business or by a sock puppet/SEO, so the dishonest reviews are at least more transparent. If some jerk with a grudge posts a 1 star review, they'll often include a whole sob story about how this company was unfair to them because they didn't immediately replace the broken thing the user dropped on a concrete floor.

Comment Re:But which kind of stroke? Too thin or too thick (Score 1) 41

To throw another wrench into the decision matrix, an ischemic stroke is caused by a clot that has been jammed into a narrow blood vessel. If the patient is not particularly healthy he may have fragile arterial walls, in which case the clot can damage the artery. Ironically, this may lead to the clot doing its intended task, becoming the thing preventing the damaged artery from hemorrhaging. In these rare and undiagnosable cases, responsibly using tPA (or spider venom) to dissolve the clot can actually lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.

Comment Re:What do you expect? (Score 3, Insightful) 151

Just think about how many movies have come out in the last 20 years, and even RECENT TV shows/Movies whose plots break down immediately if a true Panopticon/Big Brother society exists.

CallerID would have wrecked 25% of Columbo episodes if it had existed back then. "Won't somebody please think of the screenwriters" is an unusual take on technology changes!

I recently rewatched the original Day of the Jackal from 1973. The entire movie was the suspense of the police chasing him via a paper trail of hotel registrations and phone calls, and I couldn't help but think that the whole movie would have been over in about three minutes if SQL existed.

Comment Re:"Police found Purinton 80 miles away at Applebe (Score 1) 1149

1) The Founding Fathers, almost all of whom were British subjects, saw firsthand what happens when only the government has firearms. They can use those weapons to quell public outcry over anything, claiming the people were "rioting" or were "a threat to peace and order" because the people can't effectively fight back. If you read The Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Madison and Jay all say the same basic thing: citizens who have weapons are more fully able to defend themselves from the government.

That may sound odd to Europeans

It also sounds odd to the current U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed in D.C. vs Heller the right to bear arms for self-defense. A later court finding (People v. Aguilar) summarized the majority opinion:

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court undertook its first-ever "in-depth examination" of the second amendment's meaning Id. at 635. After a lengthy historical discussion, the Court ultimately concluded that the second amendment "guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation" (id. at 592); that "central to" this right is "the inherent right of self-defense" (id. at 628); that "the home" is "where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute" (id. at 628); and that, "above all other interests," the second amendment elevates "the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home" (id. at 635). Based on this understanding, the Court held that a District of Columbia law banning handgun possession in the home violated the second amendment. Id. at 635.

So at this point they've basically decided it's a self-defense thing. The idea that the Second Amendment is to facilitate armed insurrection to overthrow a tyrannical government (a.k.a. the so-called "Second Amendment solution") has no current legal basis. The dissenting opinion went with the "well-regulated militia" idea:

The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature's authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.

Here are the first six drafts of the Second Amendment and the final version:

  • The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
  • A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.
  • A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
  • A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
  • A well regulated militia, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
  • A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
  • A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

If they had C-SPAN back then, we would have more insight into what motivated these careful rephrasings, comma deletions, etc. At least some are known to have been introduced by Senate scribes inadvertently modifying punctuation, and introducing subtle changes in meaning. (Thank God somebody removed that "religiously scrupulous" crap.) But the Second Amendment is just badly written. we're forced to read through the Federalist Papers and other contemporary writings to figure out what these guys were thinking when they wrote it.

Two things you need to keep in mind when you read all this stuff. First of all, these were being defined as restrictions on the federal government, and only the federal government. The courts affirmed this model during the first half of the 19th century. Northern and Southern states had very different appetites for democracy in general, for obvious reasons, so the Constitution followed an "If you like your authoritarianism, you can keep it" model. The federal government was not allowed to restrict speech in any way, but if your state wanted to violate those same individual liberties, go right ahead. In most Southern states, speaking ill of slavery was a hanging offense.

Second, we have to seriously reexamine this attitude we have toward the Constitution. The older it gets, the more revered it becomes, and at this point, most Americans think of it as an appendix to the Bible. People are seriously arguing that the Bill of Rights are ordained by God. Back when it was written, things were more casual. Everyone agreed their founding document sucked, then simply crumpled it up and wrote another one. No one was in a mood to do this a third time, so the Constitution has a nice section describing how to modify it. (And nowhere does it say "and if things don't work out, start shootin'.") There seems no reason to think that they intended the document to be unalterable by future generations centuries afterward- that would be absurd. But modifying the Constitution at this point is politically impossible and will remain so. We have worshipped the document so much that we no longer control it- which is exactly what its authors tried to prevent.

Comment Re: pointless (Score 4, Funny) 179

Just because you have a "smart" TV doesn't mean you're stuck using the "smart" bits. Plug in an HDMI cable or three to the video source of your choosing, and you never have to touch the smart OS stuff unless you want to.

Just because it has a network connection doesn't mean you have to connect it to a network.

Comment Re:Obsolete (Score 1) 98

Bots creating GoFundMe pages have replaced bums, no need to stand on the street holding a tin cup when you can create a bot to create an online story of distress and have it beg money for you.

That's what this article is about. There are two bots standing on the street corner holding their tin cups, jostling each other for position, and spilling half their money in the process. The AI is converging on a solution using cooperation, where each bot assesses the traffic, and parcels out the begging duty to the robot more likely to succeed with that particular potential donor.

In other words, "two bots one cup".

Submission + - Google has demonstrated a successful practical attack against SHA-1 (googleblog.com)

Artem Tashkinov writes: Ten years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, Google has announced the first practical technique for generating an SHA-1 collision. It required two years of research between the CWI Institute in Amsterdam and Google. As a proof of the attack, Google has released two PDF files that have identical SHA-1 hashes but different content. The amount of computations required to carry out the attack is staggering: nine quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808) SHA1 computations in total which took 6,500 years of CPU computation to complete the attack first phase and 110 years of GPU computation to complete the second phase.

Google says that people should migrate to newer hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and SHA-3, however it's worth noting that there are currently no ways of finding a collision for both MD5 and SHA-1 hashes simultaneously which means that we still can use old proven hardware accelerated hash functions to be on the safe side.

Comment Re:Sterile and shattered. (Score 5, Interesting) 273

One thing you're forgetting is that these stars have very low gravity, so when they throw flares they get a lot further out into space than they do on the sun. Typically the incident radiation will be low for the reasons you described, but when a planet orbits through a flare it gets zapped really hard. Meanwhile, orbiting the sun, we are so unaffected by flares that when we saw one, we thought it was the Russians jamming our radar.

People who get excited about aliens living on planets orbiting dwarf stars are kidding themselves. These stars are a dime a dozen and make up more than 90% of all stars, their light is more strongly affected by planetary transits, and they tend not to gobble up their innermost planets when forming. It's no wonder we find exoplanets around them all the time. But there is nobody interesting living on any of them. You can really only trust type F and G stars with life. Larger stars explode so fast their planets haven't even had time to solidify, and smaller stars have to be hugged so closely that the planet is affected by the star's fickle weather patterns.

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