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Comment Re:2 questions for the TSA (Score 2) 570

Hey, don't mock your rock. You never know when you need to ward away tigers!

More seriously though, part of the issue of gauging the "success" of TSA is that we don't know how many potential plots they stopped from even leaving home to attempt it. How effective was the security theater in convincing potential terrorists to "just stay home".

I see 2 possible answers to that question: Pessimistically, if those terrorists really wanted to do it, no amount of security theater is going to stop them. On the other hand, those that were really more on the fence, they probably decided to stay home instead. In that sense, it would be argued that the security theater works, and also we can't really gauge the level of that success.

The data points that we actually do have to gauge the "success" of TSA are skewed. All we see are the times when weapons are caught going through the scanning (call them partial successes) and when they slip through and either the passengers tackle them to the ground or they're successful in their mission (TSA failures).

Really, the only way we could truly gauge success would be to compare our airport system to the same system without TSA. We could try to compare to that of other countries, but then some would cry foul saying "That's not America, we can't accurately compare." Also, we (America as a whole) are too risk averse to try and see what happens if we actually stopped enforcing airport security. Honestly, I think the real risk is negligible, but we live in a world where we've been scared into thinking that any Arab-looking man is a potential terrorist... Bin Laden has won.

We really need to find some way of assessing how much the threat of security theater deters attacks, and how much the threat of passengers beating you up stops attacks. Honestly, real airport security should be self enforced, but we're stuck in a society where we depend on authority figures. The average American is lazy enough to prefer someone in a uniform to keep us safe over having to fight for him/herself. Because of that, we revert to allowing our higher ups to push us around, believing that what they do helps keep us safe from the terrorists.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Comment Re:A non-partisan no-brainer (Score 1) 647

the options are a 300 pound flight taking around 7 hours or a trans-Atlantic ferry which taking 8 days and costing 1500 for a shared cabin or 2000 pounds for a single cabin. .

Well, it looks like market forces have now determined the price of privacy (or the cost of convenience and expediency in privacy lost, depending on your priorities)...

Comment Re:Lest there be any confusion (Score 1) 474

this is not about Facebook analyzing YOU specifically and predicting a breakup. It's an analysis of a big group by averages.

But Facebook is the tool/medium through which the analysis is being conducted. Thus part of the point is the fact that Facebook can now be used to do these kinds of analyses/social observations/stalking.

It may not rigorously accurate (biased sample pool, etc), but the observations are still interesting to note...

Comment Re:Almost Always User Error (Score 3, Insightful) 930

Ms. Marseille sticks by her story. "It makes me very angry when someone tells me, 'She probably hit the gas pedal instead,' because I think it's a sexist comment, an ageist comment," she said.

It was really funny to read that comment especially after I just finished reading this article on the misinformed believing lies over the truth.

Comment Finally, a response that makes sense! (Score 1) 857

Instead of going all ape-shit and complaining that the Texas School Board is re-writing history for all of the US, boycott those texts and go for something more balanced. You don't *have* to buy those textbooks, you shouldn't sacrifice quality education just to save money. The texts used by Texas public schools have such a large influence on other states' curricula because they all buy those texts, so all those consumers are partly to blame for Texas's influence. If you don't like what they're putting out, you don't have to buy it. If the Texas School Board feels that education in Texas should be taught a certain way, that's their prerogative (insofar as what kind of powers were given to them when they were elected/appointed to the board).
To sum up, Texas School Board can "screw over" the education in Texas if they want. Everyone else can choose whether or not to follow suit. Texas is not responsible for the curriculum in California, and they're actually taking that to heart.

Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 819

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."

Best Man Rigs Newlyweds' Bed To Tweet During Sex 272

When an UK man was asked to be the best man at a friend's wedding he agreed that he would not pull any pranks before or during the ceremony. Now the groom wishes he had extended the agreement to after the blessed occasion as well. The best man snuck into the newlyweds' house while they were away on their honeymoon and placed a pressure-sensitive device under their mattress. The device now automatically tweets when the couple have sex. The updates include the length of activity and how vigorous the act was on a scale of 1-10.

Comment Re:Wrong Question (Score 1) 191

It's my understanding that we can only manufacture ridiculously minute quantities of the stuff, and that may take more energy to make than we'll get out of it anyways.

Given that entropy is always staying the same or increasing, yes it most probably will take more energy to create that antimatter than what we get out of it.


Submission + - California to Finance Solar for Cities (

adeelarshad82 writes: State nonprofit organization California Statewide Community Development Authority (CSCDA), is planning to launch a solar financing program that could make the technology a lot more affordable all over California. The project is a similar but larger version of the one launched by the city of Berkeley recently. In a nutshell, the city will sell bonds to finance residents borrowing money for solar installation, to be repaid (along with the corresponding interests) in a span of 20 years through property taxes.

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