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Comment Re:State Endorsement of Religion (Score 2) 271

Sure seems to me that a special exemption for one particular work of fiction is a clear violation of separation of church and state.

There's no Bible exemption in the law. It does exempt purchases made by religious organizations (as well as charities, accredited educational institutions, and volunteer firefighting organizations), but there's no preference for a particular religion or for religious nonprofits over, say, the Red Cross, Greenpeace, or Planned Parenthood.

Comment Re:Only the Bible? (Score 1) 271

There is no Bible exemption. There's an exemption for purchases by religious organizations (and charities, accredited educational institutions, and volunteer firefighting organizations), which doesn't explicitly mention one religion over another or prefer a religious organization over the Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, or UNICEF.

Comment Re:WTF PA? (Score 5, Informative) 271

Glad to see the separation of church and state is alive in well in the U S of A!!!
" versions of the Bible will be exempt from the digital downloads tax"

If they wanted an exemption that would do society some good, they should exempt textbooks, but then kids might get exposed to more of that heretical "science."

The summary is terrible.

Textbooks purchased from or through accredited schools are exempted. The Bible is not specifically exempted, but purchases by qualified charitable organizations, volunteer fire companies, religious organizations and nonprofit educational institutions are unless used in an unrelated business capacity--there's no particular preference for religious organizations over other social nonprofits, and nothing singling out particular religions.

The tax is not specifically on streaming video. It extends the state's 6% sales tax to online purchases--streaming video is included, as are video downloads, streaming and downloaded audio, and other online purchases like ebooks, apps, games, e-greeting cards, etc.

Comment Re:Be accountable (Score 1) 139

In the Men's Singles tournament first round, the American 23rd seed John Isner defeated the French qualifier Nicolas Mahut after 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days, with a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 for a total of 183 games.

They had it called due to night the first day, then again on the second day after playing all day, and finished on a third day.

The next year at Wimbledon they met again in the first round. Isner won handily in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6.

Comment Re:97% odds against either winning all flips fairl (Score 1) 634

Given that Clinton did win all six flips, the odds that the flips were fair is ... hmm?

The summary is disingenuous and misleading, though if you parse it closely enough it's not necessarily an outright lie. Clinton did win at least 6 flips, but she also lost at least a handful of the dozen or so total flips. has video of one of the several that Bernie won.

Comment Blurb is wrong (Score 1) 174

Omni-font OCR was in commercial use by CompuScan and others for a decade or more before Kurzweil's scanner. And Bell, and then later Fairchild, had been using CCD scanners (some with flatbed setups) since 1971--indeed, the Kurzweil Computer Products scanner used a Fairchild CCD scanner chip as its basis.

Kurzweil's genius was in hooking the CCD with early text-to-speech software, and realizing that he could work around limitations in the scanner memory capacity by doing on-the-fly OCR and discarding the image data rather than trying to keep vast amounts of image data in memory at once. Those are huge advances and deserve recognition, but the idea that he invented the CCD scanner or omni-font OCR is not just gilding the lily but outright wrong.

See, e.g., Herb Schantz's 1982 retrospective "The History of OCR":

Comment Re:Austin is different (Score 1) 464

Houston is still very red. They gerrymandered the Democrats, so there are a number of Democratic areas, but they are concentrated and separate

It's no longer "very" red. Harris County as a whole went just slightly more for Obama than Romney and had only a 1.5% edge for Cruz over Sadler. Neither of those depends on the gerrymandered districts used in House races.

Texas as a whole was a 16% landslide for both Cruz and Romney, because the rural areas are in fact very red.

Comment Re:Austin is different (Score 2) 464

eh, Austin isn't quite like the rest of Texas. I mean, it's consistently favored Democratic politicians, often by a 2:1 margin.

That's got more to do with the general American rural/urban divide than Austin's particular weirdness. Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and El Paso all went for Obama over Romney, as well.

Comment Re:Depends on where you live (Score 1) 568

In the USA in many instances titles like Engineer and Architect are required to be licensed. They can sign-off on certain designs where other "elitist accredited/certified" people cannot legally do so

Where do these exist in the USA for "Engineer"? If they exist, they're not common.

Now, in most jurisdictions the title of Professional Engineer is licensed, and only certified PEs can sign off on designs. But "engineer" is an English language word with a plain meaning that predates PEs by 500ish years, and AFAIK the majority of software engineers don't claim to be PEs any more than the majority of railroad engineers or audio engineers do.

Comment Re:Open your IT consulting business as AC Engineer (Score 1) 568

Note that trash collectors call them selves sanitation engineers and stay-at-home parents are domestic engineers.

Which is exactly the point. This whole objection is dumb. Engineer is an English-language word and the attempts by professional societies to monopolize it and stop the general population from using it should be fought vigorously. If you want to require and imply a level of education and a set of standards, use a new trademarked term (like PE or Eur Ing or CEng).

"Doctor" is a reasonable comp: trying to remove that word from English and only let members of a certain cartel use it would be ludicrous, but the public interest is served by having a term that's reserved so that the public can have a baseline level of trust--hence MD (and DDS, RNA, DO, and all the rest).

There's no confusion here. Nobody thinks that a doctor of philosophy, a witch doctor, or Doctor John is a board-certified neurosurgeon any more than anyone thinks that an audio engineer, software engineer, or sanitation engineer is a certified civil engineer, and the word in English predates the narrow engineering-society sense by about 500 years.

Comment Re:Don't let Linus see it, or he'll call you a cun (Score 1) 47

See how he dances
See how he loops from side to side
See how he prances
The way his hooves just seem to glide
He's just a one trick pony (that's all he is)
But he turns that trick with pride

He makes it look so easy
He looks so clean
He moves like God's
Immaculate machine
He makes me think about
All of these extra movements I make
And all of this herky-jerky motion
And the bag of tricks it takes
To get me through my working day
One-trick pony

He's a one trick pony
He either fails or he succeeds
He gives his testimony
Then he relaxes in the weeds
He's got one trick to last a lifetime
But that's all a pony needs

Comment Re:Ethan? (Score 2) 174

It's saying that the fantasy team's membership can't be based on the membership of a current team. The idea is to prevent people essentially from betting on the Red Sox to beat the Yankees by having a "fantasy" league where one team's members are the current Red Sox, and another's are the current Yankees, and so on.

It's a dumb law, but it's the law.

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