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Comment Pardon me if I doubt the author's motivation ... (Score 1) 478

... in writing this piece is merely to express a personal preference.

I support Emanuel's absolute right to purchase or refuse any medical treatment he wants at any time. Indeed, I support his right to suicide. It is his life, and he can do what he will with it. Moreover, I whole-heartedly support his first amendment right to speak and try to convince others to adopt similar values. For all that I care, he can start a movement of medical care refuseniks - as long as the care they are refusing is their own.

Would he support my rights equally? Does he believe that I have the absolute right to purchase, at any age, with my own wealth, any medical treatments that I judge to be valuable in pursuit of my own happiness? Somehow, given his crucial contributions to the largest government encroachment on personal medical decision-making since Medicare, I doubt it.

Comment Nope, unless ... (Score 2) 81

Are you able to do all of the following at your dinner conversation?:

1) Provide everyone with a decent close-talking directional microphone.
2) Require each person to take turns speaking, so there is very little overlap.
3) Have no pre-adolescents speaking.
4) Eliminate noticeable background noises.
5) Have no one with a strong non-native dialect speaking.
6) Require everyone to speak in full, grammatical sentences.

To the extent you say no to any of the above, you will get increasingly poor output. They are listed approximately in order of importance (1 being the most important). If you can say yes to all of those, you can probably get in the vicinity of 90% accuracy. This might be usable, depending on your ultimate purpose. If you were to additionally train acoustic and language models for all of the speakers, and then tell the software which user was speaking (i.e. switch the user on the fly during the conversation), you could probably get 95% accuracy and that would be quite usable.

So, in other words ... nope.

Comment Re:first ti file? (Score 1) 365

That's a helpful response, but begs the question: If the later filer had already manufactured the invention, doesn't that make it "existing practice" and therefore prior art? Even if they hadn't manufactured it, but only designed it, if they produce the design in court with a provable date prior to the earlier filing, doesn't that at least make it "obvious" if not "prior art"?

What am I missing here?

Comment The argument against regulation ... (Score 1) 449

... is NOT that "because some government regulations are unfounded, all of their regulations will be so.". The argument against regulations in general is that they punish innocent people (by restricting their liberty) without proof that the regulated activity will harm anyone. This is distinguished from objectively-defined law, where:

a) the restricted activity (in the case of good law) is a violation of someone's rights.
b) the violation must be proved in court (including civil court).

So, to choose an example I know will piss off many slashdotters, regulation of "air pollutants" is not a valid exercise of government power, since this punishes people that might emit a certain quantity of some substance, without proof that such emissions will actually harm someone. We already have laws against polluting other people's property - if someone can be proved to be doing so, they should be punished. And, if someone believes that they are going to be harmed by emissions that have yet to occur, they can even go to civil court and present merely a preponderance of evidence that this harm will ensue in order to receive relief, including injunctive relieve to prevent the activity, That is the valid operation of coercive government power - to prevent objectively definable rights violations, not to pander to people's imagined fears.

In the case of the FAA device regulations, the issue is even more clear cut - the FAA should have nothing to say at all about what devices a private airline allows to be used on its planes. That should be the decision of the airline, and they can base this decision on what they consider to be the appropriate tradeoff between safety and passenger convenience. Then, passengers could decide how they feel about a given airline's policy, and this could be factored into their patronage decision. True, this requires that passengers would need to exercise some adult judgment in their choice of airlines. Oh, the horror. Such is part of the price of liberty.

Comment Re:Not that surprising (Score 1) 569

I've been through Ben-Gurion ~10 times, and have not had similar experiences. Indeed, from what I know of the Israeli security techniques, the goal is not really to make you sweat, but simply to observe your behavior in reacting to mundane, but rapid fire, questions. In effect, it's a lie detector test, where the detectors are well trained (and intelligent) humans. The US could have a similar system - with similar success - if we reallocated resources away from security theater and toward hiring and training good people to do this kind of pattern recognition. Unfortunately, since the TSA is viewed as a job-creation program, and since it *is* security theater (not actual security) that is the goal of the program, we are unlikely to get there.

Comment Re:Best Missile Defense Shield (Score 1) 861

Even with the danger posed by the current hostilities, Israel continues to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. Name another country, when faced with rocket attacks on its civilian population, as Israel has for the past 5+ years, which would do anything similar.

Oh yes - Egypt has an ongoing land blockade of Gaza as well.

Comment Re:both sides (Score 1) 861

Please. Israel could wreak any level of destruction on Gaza they want. Indeed, I'd wager you have complained elsewhere about how "asymmetric" is Israel's war-making capacity and how that, ipso facto, makes their use of the military "offensive", independent of the reality of waves upon waves of rockets being deliberately launched at their civilian population. It is crystal clear that Israel is being as precise as possible in their targeting.

War is hell. Innocents die. The best way to save innocent lives is to end the war as quickly as possible, which means using the absolute minimum force necessary to ensure that the aggressor side is completely defeated, with no capability of resuming its aggression.

As to who is the aggressor - I propose the following thought experiment: if there were no active hostilities in the region, and if Israel could therefore remove its naval blockade of Gaza, and if Gaza were allowed, say 10 years to develop its political, economic and social, cultural institutions, where would you prefer to live: Israel or Gazastan? An honest answer to that question (especially if you are gay or female) would tell you all you need to know about the "who is the aggressor" question.

Comment What impact will it have on STEM education? (Score 2, Insightful) 1113

Well, if the federal government didn't control education policy and funding, then it would have no impact whatsoever. If you advocate the involvement of government in education, you can have very little to say in opposition to elected officials' pedagogical opinions being leashed on the classroom.

Comment Re:No it doesn't (Score 1) 172

This is ridiculous.

The only government action taken against OWS had to do with time, place, and manner restrictions on their _behavior_ (i.e. "occupying" public spaces). There have been zero restrictions on the content of anyone in that movement's speech (and I dare you to provide a cite that proves otherwise).

And, what is more, these time/place/manner restrictions on OWS "gatherings" were imposed with extreme laxness, as compared to such prohibitions implemented against virtually any other protest movement in US history. The Z-park encampment was allowed for at least two months; Philadelphia, 2.5 months; Boston at least 3 months; the list goes on. This is while health, safety and traffic regulations were routinely flouted (not to mention the rampant felony activity, including rape, assault, and theft).

The worst infringements of free speech rights in the U.S. remain as part of "campaign finance" law. The overturning of McCain-Feingold was a step in the right direction there, but there are still many unconscionable restrictions that are supported by both the D's and R's, since they amount to incumbency protection.

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