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Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 1) 318

The US Govt (at least on the Federal level) is mandated by the US Constitution to provide for defense...that is one of its few enumerated responsibilities and powers.

That's for *defense*. We send almost half our budget on defense, but maybe about 5% of our budget actually goes to defense. The remaining 45% is for buying expensive toys from defense contractors to assuage our tribal concerns that the country is undefended. Although we pay our soldiers burger-flipping wages (partly to justify not raising the minimum wage for actual burger flippers), the Pentagon is actually complaining about being overloaded with so much expensive equipment that they can't even keep all of it out of the rain. We aren't safe if our military can only end life on the planet- it should be capable of destroying three or four planets, and at least ten by 2030. That's not defense, it's a parasitic industry that gobbles up nearly half the budget. But people are so entranced by it- guys like Brian Williams who ejaculate when they see a couple dozen Tomahawks being fired- that's almost always a cheap political win. Every government that does nothing for its citizens (e.g. North Korea) resorts to military displays. It's an opiate for the masses.

The Constitution was written when health care costs were not even a conceivable issue at all. For most of American history the Constitution has been considered a working document, designed to be amended as times change in ways that could not have been forseen. That was the 18th-20th century view of the Constitution, but it went out the window several decades ago. At this point, Americans have fetishized the U.S. Constitution like it's an appendix to the Bible, and they quote the Founding Fathers like they were apostles. When amending it is now considered sacrilege, it has completely lost its usefulness. You have the rights you have (and might have needed) up until this originalist attitude set in during the 80s. Now you will never be given any more Constitutional rights, no matter what changes in the near or distant future. Since health care only emerged as a serious problem in more recent decades, you'll never have a Constitutional right to free health care. But you can always kick a British soldier out of your house. That's fucked.

Comment Re:Coal is a campaign punchline (Score 2) 355

Only reason why it's an issue at all is because it sounded good on the campaign trail for Trump's supporters.

More specifically, it appealed to people in one of the regional subcultures (Appalachia) who are often a swing vote. They mostly vote Republican these days, but they've never been closely tied to either of the two major parties, and Trump had to lock them down in order to shore up the fact that his support was weak in other traditionally-Republican subcultures (though he was helped by the fact that his opponent's support was weak in important traditionally-Democrat subcultures).

Comment Marginal cost of Internet distribution: $0.09/GB (Score 1) 65

Unless a work includes material licensed under terms that require payment of residuals per copy, all the work involved in production, editing, and mastering is a sunk cost that was covered by the work's crowdfunding campaign. The marginal cost of distributing a copy of a work is the cost of transmitting it over the Internet, for which AWS charges 0.09 USD per GB.

Comment Music and film are essential in two senses (Score 1) 65

However, unless those works are also essential

They are "essential" in the same sense that a college textbook is "essential": a student in a music or film analysis class gets a 0 on his homework unless he buys a copy.

If you live in an area where all grocery stores play background music, music is also "essential" because a fraction of what you pay for food goes toward licensing background music, and food is essential.

Comment Re:Cry me a river (Score 1) 252

You don't have to be friends with someone to see the behavioral changes that come with serious depression. Though, personally, I do like to make friends at work. I still regularly see people I worked with decades ago, because we built enduring friendships. Actually, that reminds me, it's time to organize another lunch or two...

Comment Re:An Artificial Womb Successfully Grew Baby Sheep (Score 1) 177

THIS 'device' is being put forward as a means to extend the viability of really early premature birth infants so they actually have a chance to survive - - - and NOT as an ARTIFICIAL WOMB with the ability to actually grow an infant from sperm-egg inception to birth.

True, but that doesn't mean it won't eventually become an artificial womb. If they're successful at using it to keep babies who are 15 weeks premature alive and healthy through their full development, then clearly the next step is to use it for babies who are 16 weeks premature, etc., etc. As they push back the age of viability new challenges will arise and be solved, and step by step it will get pushed back all the way to starting from an embryo. The development process will take years, maybe decades, but it's all but inevitable once we take this first step.

Comment Re:Cry me a river (Score 3, Interesting) 252

I share your cynicism about the idea that the true cause was an "aggressive work culture" but the same time this was a human being. You, the person hiding behind the screen and the AC title. Don't be an a-hole. Joseph probably had depression, you have a-hole disease.

Also, although job culture could not really have been the root cause, it definitely could be a contributing factor. Someone prone to depression can easily enter a downward spiral when placed under immense stress, to a degree that they're too depressed to take the obvious actions to get out of the stressful environment. If this guy came from LinkedIn and turned down a job at Apple, he obviously had excellent prospects for getting another job, and that would have been the obvious response to excessive job stress. But depressed people don't think that clearly. A good manager and good co-workers should have recognized the situation and encouraged him to seek help.

Note that I'm assuming here that the wife is right, and that it really was a toxic work environment. It's also possible that the work environment is fine and that it was just severe clinical depression. Given the rest of what we hear about Uber, though, it wouldn't shock me to learn that the work environment contributed a great deal.

Comment Re:Bricked or not? (Score 2) 92

I don't think you can ever permanently "brick" something. In this case they probably reflashed the firmware through the JTAG port or something similar. Bricked to the consumer but not the supplier.

You can permanently brick a device, even without hardware damage. Phones, for example, should have JTAG completely disabled for security (though many OEMs fail to do this), and depending on various bits of low-level config devices can get into a completely unflashable state. If the onboard firmware that accepts flashed images does something like sign the images with a key embedded in the SoC, and the ROM refuses to run unsigned firmware, and you can't flash normally any more, then even removing the flash memory and writing to it directly may not revive the device.

Plus, software can sometimes do hardware damage, which can perma-brick.

But, yeah, in the vast majority of cases where a device is "bricked", it can actually be revived by the manufacturer or their RMA centers. Even if JTAG isn't available and the system is tightly locked down, they typically have some keys they can use to sign messages to disable portions of the security infrastructure, specifically so that they can revive (and resell) bricked devices.

I do low-level Android development and end up bricking a few devices every year. It's pretty rare that they can't be revived by the manufacturer, but it does happen.

Comment Re:Truth (Score 1) 171

Perhaps I am weird but I don't understand why anyone would want to type complete sentences into a search engine. Natural language is bad at being precise and machines aren't exactly good at interpreting it.

Try it. It's what people naturally tend to do, so it's what Google optimizes for. It really does work very well, regardless of what you might expect.

Comment Re:I hope he wins his suit (Score 1) 660

Yes, medical professionals need to be board certified. But don't confuse that with doctors.

No, they don't. Board certification is an additional step that physicians can take, and many better ones do, but it is not required to practice medicine.

Wrong. :-p

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_certification
http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/06/matter-doctor-board-certified-board-eligible.html
http://www.physicianspractice.com/healthcare-careers/board-certification-overrated
https://www.angieslist.com/articles/are-all-doctors-board-certified.htm
http://www.abpsus.org/physician-board-certified-specialties

I could go on, but that's enough.

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