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Comment "Second Covers" (Score 4, Interesting) 65

UFOs are often convenient cover for secret Re:Carl Saganflight tests.

That gives the government an incentive to encourage UFO nuts.

A lot of the cold-war-era "conspiracy theories" sound like "second cover" stories. That's a psychological technique for diverting investigation into some large-enough-to-be-worth-the-effort secret project. Works like this:

Plant TWO cover stories. The first is plausible but misdirection. The second is fruitcake-nuts (but ideally has aspects that look attractively like actual artifacts of the project being hidden). Somebody investigating what is going on first hits the first cover. If he accepts it, fine. If he notices it doesn't quite fit and digs deeper, he finds the obviously screwy second cover. Oops? Now what?

The tendency of the more rational is to reject it - but bounce back to the first cover and give up there. The less well-hinged may report the second cover (much to the glee of the security people). Few are going to keep digging past both to discover some approximation of what's really going on - and if they DO get there and talk about it in public, if they happen to have said anything related to the second cover story (or even if the HAVEN'T), they can be debunked by painting them as having accepted the self-evidently tinfoil-hat-grade second cover story and propagating a variant of it.

The "conspiracy theories are always wrong and insane" meme is very convenient for this as well (as it is for any actual conspirators B-) )

Comment Re:Carl SaganUFOs are often convenient cover for s (Score 1) 65

UFOs are often convenient cover for secret flight tests.

Wasn't there a not too long ago release of government info-or-whatever about the Roswell incident?

Story was that one of the things they were testing there was the reentry mechanism for the upcoming (and still very cold-war-secret-military-tech) mercury launches, by lifting various model reentry vehicles to the edge of the atmosphere using weather balloons and dropping them . Not all that good a model of the heating, but a great way to check whether it would end up flying heat-shield-first until it was at low-atmosphere terminal velocity and time for the 'chutes.

Video showed a mercury capsule heat-shield, with retro-pack still attached, upside-down on sawhorses-or-the-like in a hanger. Looked very much like the canonical flying-saucer artwork of the era, and the picture was given as an explanation for the story of a passerby seeing what looked like a flying saucer in a hanger.

Comment Re:Being pedantic (Score 1) 380

... the felonious taking of the property of another from his or her person or in his or her immediate presence, against his or her will, by violence or intimidation.

What Alphabet did is by definition Robbery.

If they'd given, or promised, a Christmas Bonus, then yes it would be robbery.

If the (or their predecessors) had led the workers to expect bonuses only by voluntarily giving them in the past, but had never written contract terms or otherwise promised the bonuses for this year, then the hypothetical missing bonus was never the property of the workers in the first place.

Comment Re:'"We are looking into the matter" (Score 2) 138

Hell they probably would have accepted the offer for a free pen test. Instead many orgs react rather violently if they dont know about it and you did it.

An unexpected, unauthorized, "free pen test" is indistinguishable from a bad-guy cracking attempt, and must be treated as if it's a real threat. This causes ENORMOUS extra costs as the victim has to batten the hatches, examine everything for corruption and/or possible persistent threat instalation, compare working databases to backups and examine the differences vs. update audit trails, and so on.

Not to mention the concern that it might be a real attempt by the DHS, or a rogue group within it, to hack the election.

Comment Re:Being pedantic (Score 2) 380

If your company removes money from you and gives it to someone else, that is called Robbery.

But if the company just doesn't give you a Christmas/End-of-Year gift that they had been voluntarily giving previously, it may be a disappointment but it isn't Robbery.

= = = =

It may also be really stupid move on the company's part, though. It's going to cost them a bunch in employee satisfaction, and thus performance, over the next year or more.

Of course, if they were thinking of replacing a bunch of the employees with H1Bs or the like, tweaking them off so they perform poorly could then be used in claims that they were not good performers and thus needed replacing.

Comment Re: Relevant xkcd (Score 2) 190

What if you live in an apartment or townhouse?

Then you must comply with whatever rules your landlord sets down. Actually renters have way to many rights, most places. Private property is the cornerstone of freedom and it should be nearly absolute.

Would you want your neighbors making that choice for you as well?

No I would expect my landlord to have rules regarding fire safety and that people would either be following them or be evicted.

And flipping that around if you live in an apartment or townhouse complex and your Note 7 did catch the place on fire, your neighbors would be well within their rights to sue you into a financial hole so deep you'd never get out of it.

Honestly I doubt very much they would. Statistically the Note 7 probably isn't nearly as great a fire risk as your average candle, or any of those cheap Chinese vape devices, to say nothing of your typical hot plate, rice cooker etc. All things that are generally permitted in residential buildings.

Why? Because the Note 7 is a proven fire risk that the manufacturer is doing everything it can to ensure that people return and you're ignoring that. I bet your insurance would decline coverage in that case as well.

I would actually be pretty surprised if they could skate on that one. Its possible, but there would be law suits.

Comment Re:Imaginary benefits of social media advertising (Score 1) 35

I work in the marketing analytics and attribution space and can confidently speak to this topic. While Social isn't the BEST performer, it doesn't carry with it the dire statement of a "complete lack of results" as you state.

With dependencies on vertical and how the advertising is used in known conjunction with other channels, Social definitely does have an assister effect on those other channels. The problem you may be encountering is relying solely on outdated analysis methods which do not appropriately track credit for known users across the entirety of their path to purchase or you're simply just looking at in effective ad buying behavior resulting in poor ROAS.

Done right, Social is definitely valuable for relatively low cost when compared to the much larger channels (based on investment) and can absolutely jack up your return on those other channels as an assister but definitely is not going to be a 1:1 return as the only advertising channel you should leverage if you are hoping for conversion.

Comment Time to spine up (Score 1) 48

I am all for Trump's get tough on China stance but 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union we should be applying the same model, rather than exporting our wealth to them via a trade deficit.

The Chinese economy is radically unbalanced right now much more so than our own in fact. If we suddenly deprived them of the sink for all the consumer goods the produces we could probably turn the PRC into failed state! What we ought to do is trigger that and simultaneously lay the ground work for installing a friendly government over their that by simply say "You bet we have a one China policy, the lawful government is the ROC and the capital is Taipei"

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 3, Insightful) 482

If your doctor says you need this 300k$ surgery to survive, and then you need to take this $500 a pill medication every day for the rest of your life, or you will die...
you're not going to shop around. you're not going to say wait, hold on. you're gonna say "OK".

Yes if someone else is writing the check you certainly will. If you had to pay out of pocket lots of people would say "I can't." At which point the medical providers are going to have to find a way to deliver for a lower cost if they want the work at all. They charge enough to basically wipe out the majority of their potential patients but no more. The problem is right now there is essentially no upper limit on what they can charge.

I would also argue that a lot of people might choose alternatives like 'make me comfortable as long as possible' at those prices. $300k I might find away to come up with but at say half a million I might decide it would be better to not bankrupt my family leave my wife and children with some of our aquired wealth and a hefty life insurance payout. I think a lot of people would

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 1) 482

I don't think there is any denying that Obamacare has helped a certain segment of society. There exists a group that got access to care they did not have before. There is a much much larger group that now pays a great deal more for the care they already had access to and is being gradually priced out of consuming as much care as they once did due to the rise in deductibles and premiums they are paying. I know for example I am paying a little more than 3 times what I paid before 2010 in premiums and my deductible as doubled. If I were on a tighter budget the added cost of the premiums would lesson my ability to shoulder the higher out of pocket costs due to the rise in deductible.

There are a lot of families and individuals who are now choosing not to treat minor ailments because they can't fit the out of pocket costs into their budgets. There probably is a cumulative effect of living with these conditions. Although its a bit soon for that show up in life expediency I would think. Still its not at all hard to see how Obamacare has materially hurt far more people than it has helped. The issue is for a small group of people it has help a lot.

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