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Comment Re:Maybe, I should sue KDE? (Score 1) 62

> No, we weren't tricked into upgrading the way some MS-users were. But that's a rather thin defense for any software-maker, which simply discontinues older versions — forcing users to upgrade or remain open to security and other bugs.

Yes, we should be forced to support code and use-cases we were concerned with 10 years ago for the rest of our lives.

Comment Re:So (Score 1) 1424

Most political systems have some degree of protection for rural areas to prevent them from being utterly steamrolled and dominated by the cities. This is true within the United States both on a national and state level, and within a number of places in Europe, Asia, etc.

I think it's fair to argue it's perhaps gone too far, but I'd hope we'd keep a political system where the rural has a bit more power than it'd get just by proportion of the population. The electoral college chooses a mix that is mostly proportional-- 435 of the electors are assigned by population, 103 by underlying government.

Otherwise we're likely to get a system of government where flyover states are completely neglected for infrastructure, etc, if it weren't for the senate and the presidency having some degree of per-state representation in them. I'm not sure that even passes utilitarian tests (are we better off as a country if it goes that way?) let alone fairness tests. Rural areas are both have fundamentally different needs because they are physically removed from the cities (and thus may not benefit from infrastructure/spending in the cities) and because they are fundamentally different places (it's natural to understand a different take on gun rights when you probably know lots of hunters and live somewhere where police response can be expected to be literally 45 minutes away and are fundamentally unlikely to suffer from gun violence or mass shootings).

Submission + - China Presses Tech Firms to Police the Internet (

alternative_right writes: Picture an internet where tech companies are deputized as crime-fighters, where censors keep radical views in check and where governments work together to achieve global order in cyberspace.

That is China’s vision, and its third-annual World Internet Conference that ended Friday was aimed at proselytizing that view to tech executives and government leaders who assembled here from around the world.

Submission + - Dutch Science, Men Need Not Apply

greg65535 writes: In order to reduce its gender imbalance, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in Amsterdam will hold special election rounds, one in 2017 and one in 2018, for which only women can be nominated. Source: (paywalled). No comment.

Comment Re: Obviously, a failed time travel mission (Score 1) 360

As others have already pointed out, this is not true-- there are more than 31 documented cases, and the controls to actually detect voter fraud in a way that we could consider "confirmed" or garner a conviction are very weak.

I both A) have faith in our electoral system and B) think that there's a lot more cases of voter fraud that go undetected, but still not enough to tip over elections in anything but the most extreme circumstance... but... There's lots of smart people-- can't we figure out how to set up better controls so that we would actually know the rate and can prevent a fair bit more without unduly denying people participation in the election? Wouldn't it be better to KNOW?

Comment Re:Real reason for suing peace.... (Score 1) 398

V2 had nowhere near the payload capacity for an early nuclear device. One tonne / 300 kilometers. Compare to more than four tonnes for little boy / fat man.

Also, Japan just didn't have the industrial capacity to wage war any longer-- it's just a question of how costly invasion was going to be. You can't tool up to build V2's and nukes in the face of invasion.

Also, there's the question of how many more times we would have nuked Japan in the meantime. We were about to be producing three per month. Probably would be good to build a stockpile, so maybe drop one every couple of weeks?

Comment Re:How surprising... not (Score 1) 110

> It's also much smaller than Earth and Venus, so the area exposed to the sun (from the sun's point of view) is around 12% of Earth's. So it gets much less heat.
And light.

It's dimmer on Mars because of the inverse square law, not because of Mars being smaller. Mars being smaller doesn't have much of a direct effect on temperature, either.

> The images we see from Mars are not what we would see if we were there - the cameras are adjusted for less light, and exposure pushed up so we can see things clearly.

I think you -severely- underestimate the dynamic range of the eye compared to practical cameras.

Comment Re:no (Score 1) 437

... Real airliners have fielded automated systems to avoid birds? Nope...

I am a big airplane nerd, have a license and many type ratings for interesting aircraft. I also do a lot of systems engineering. There are not many systems that intervene and take action on behalf of a human. You can find various kinds of fairly-static control loops on aircraft (autopilots, pressurization systems). There's some things that take immediate protective action, like circuit breakers. You can find things like stick-pushers that will apply forward pressure to the stick/yoke after some time of warning of an incipient stall.. You can also find things like envelope protection / more advanced "do what i mean" control laws on Airbus.

But when there's a fire on an airliner, it's almost always the flight crew that pushes the button to discharge the fire bottle. When there's an incipient collision, it's a flight crew who listens to the order from TCAS and decides whether to comply.

The thing is, yes, computers are really good at responding to understood, common failure modes. Aviation accidents have progressed beyond understood, common failure modes to esoteric strange events. This is because we've augmented human ability with CRM, automation of routine things, additional alarms and alarm prioritization, etc, etc, etc. Remaining failure modes exercise the redundancy in unanticipated ways-- like someone taping over (and not removing the tape from) all 27 static ports on the aircraft and the static ports leaking air out but not allowing air in. People are good at problem solving and figuring out what is going on in those types of circumstances. Machines are very bad, currently, at that type of anomaly detection and resolution.

There are times that having a human in the loop means a human does something stupid and kills everyone aboard. E.g. AF447 (though I wonder how well a machine would do, because the Airbus fell out of the more sophisticated control laws to a base level of automation because of the contradictory sensor readings). There are also more times when a human with a high level of systems knowledge and troubleshooting.

Overall, the philosophy is this-- We make the flight crew behave like a machine under ordinary circumstances, with a lot of automation of routine flight and decision support and checklists. When things go wrong and off the scripted checklists, we instruct the flight crew to use the automation if possible (autopilot, etc) and to troubleshoot systematically, to communicate with each other and divide up manual responsibilities, and to effectively question each others decisions while keeping on the problem.

This is what the human factors crowd and the NTSB have decided is the best path for aviation for the foreseeable future. Perhaps you know better? Even Airbus, who is on the leading edge of having the computers do more and more, doesn't go anywhere near as far as you describe.

Comment Re:Very Bad Precedent (Score 1) 225

No, I think the rules are broken.

The policy justification behind AMT was to force people to pay at least a certain minimum rate of tax on actual income. To catch some of the various tax avoidance strategies, it considers different timing for when gains are actually recognized.

If you have 100,000 stock options for $0.01, and the stock is at $100.00, and you exercise those options-- you now hold stock worth $10,000,000 and paid $10,000. If the stock then goes to 0, you just missed out on $10,000,000 you could have had by selling earlier. You have a $10,000 capital loss. But the IRS will show up saying you owe $2,600,000. But hey, they're generous-- you can apply what you're able to pay against future years' taxes.

On the other hand, if you buy 100,000 shares of stock for $0.01, and then the stock goes to $100.00 and then down to $0.00, you have a $10,000 capital loss.

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