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Comment Well gee darn, officer... (Score 3, Informative) 254

Vance said. "It's changed my world. It's letting criminals conduct their business with the knowledge we can't listen to them."

They can do that in an empty theater, a subway car, a taxi, a sewer... or in simple, pre-arranged, spoken code-phrases you'll have EVEN LESS CHANCE OF CRACKING. So it's "changed your world." Ala, forced you to think about hiring cops capable of doing actual investigative police work? You mean, like, when people used codes the police couldn't crack just 15 years ago, except they were written on paper, or ciphered into the actual text? You mean like when they spoke languages few if any other people spoke? You mean like back in the day when cops were expected to solve crimes with actual police-work, instead of relying on broad, warrantless searches of people's private property and communications with no restraint on the part of the police, who would instead prefer to violate the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold with the use of Stingray devices and the like just to nab an easy collar?

Frankly, if your only avenue for solving crime is bottomed on your ability to read the contents of people's private messages and cellphones, you should quit because you're an awful police officer with no ability or skill to solve crimes the way our nation of laws intended them to be solved: without violating people's equal rights, all because "but... crime!!1 Terrorism!1! 9/11!!!one" Even if I believed that giving you what you wanted wasn't a civil rights violation and was in the best interests of the public, the fact of the matter is that it would change nothing: the criminals would simply find other means and avenues, and frankly I seriously doubt such access is a relevant factor in even 1 out of 100,000 cases anyway, especially since your record of solving crimes has not improved in the least bit during the periods when you had this access, or since you've started illegally using stingray devices, even though overall crime rates have been on a downward tick for the last couple of decades.

Comment They've never actually had it, either... (Score 1) 1080

This is exactly why the U.S. was founded as a Democratically-representative Republic and not a pure Democracy.

True free-market capitalism hasn't existed in the United States for longer than any of 3 or 4 millennials combined have been alive - specifically, since Woodrow Wilson started truly ushering in the era of big government, and FDR hammered the nail in the coffin of capitalism in this country with his rotten "New Deal". What we have is "crony capitalism" at best.

So, that's nice that they're rejecting it, but they've never had it either, and I seriously doubt they were taught anything legitimate about it beyond rants from far-left leaning teachers that "capitalism is bad" and "unions saved the workers" (a correlative fallacy, since there's no proof the market wouldn't have corrected itself without unions, particularly if the justice branch had actually been doing its job: corruption is neither unique, nor endemic to capitalism, and is every bit as bad - if not vastly worse - under highly authoritarian and controlling governments like socialism and communism tend to produce). What makes any of them think that the government and businesses would somehow be less corrupt and greedy and abusive with power consolidated even further in the hands of government, rather than resting nominally with the people? Doesn't it stand to reason that, at best, the greedy and corrupt would just then insinuate their way into government, where they could exercise even greater authority, and commit even worse abuses?

A great example of how even the best-intentioned results of socio-communism go wrong is seen in our government's assertion that it has a right to tell us what we can put in our bodies, and the resulting "War on Drugs" it declared (which would never fly in a truly free-market economy and a government that actually supported and believed in it), with the untold harm it has caused to millions around the world: if it weren't for the black market that the government created by trying to ban or control drugs, there would be no Cartels, for example. The only reason the Cartels exist is due to a facet of human nature and economics that socio-communists don't seem to understand: supply and demand will always trump laws, and that where there is a demand, a market will rise to meet it. It's only because the government is artificially trying to control that market that violent criminal gangs rose up to fill it. If there were no ban on drugs, there would be no black market, as proved early in the last century with the prohibition on alcohol, and the drop in crime that occurred when it was rescinded.

The fact remains, kids graduating from high school today are less educated than their parents or grandparents were, and even those people don't know squat about economics, or economic systems, on the average. Heck, most economists don't even know anything about economics, as evidenced by those in the Fed who think printing more money and maintaining a steady increase in inflation is somehow a good idea...

Years ago, I noticed one thing about economics, and that is that economists didn't get anything right.
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Economists tend to think they are much, much smarter than historians, than everybody. And this is a bit too much because at the end of the day, we don't know very much in economics.
-Thomas Piketty

I don't care for a lot of this person's theories, but the following, at least, I can definitely agree with:

Contrary to what professional economists will typically tell you, economics is not a science. All economic theories have underlying political and ethical assumptions, which make it impossible to prove them right or wrong in the way we can with theories in physics or chemistry.
-Ha-Joon Chang

Lastly, I think this lady has the right of it:

I may be only a fish and chip shop lady, but some of these economists need to get their heads out of the textbooks and get a job in the real world. I would not even let one of them handle my grocery shopping.
-Pauline Hanson

All of which is to say the economists can't even claim to really know what they're on about, so how can the people teaching it? And if the people teaching it don't know what they're talking about (which is easily believed), why should anyone believe that the opinions of their students have any grounding in reality or bearing on anything?

A lot of Russians once thought communism was a good idea, because that was what they were propagandized to believe, the same as our students, what with them having spent most of their time in school learning to regurgitate "facts" (which are all too often no such thing) instead of how to think critically for themselves. Regardless of how many Russians thought communism was a good idea, they turned out to be provably wrong, and it will be no different with these millennials who think capitalism is bad.

Capitalism, regardless of the abuses that may arise under it, at least in principle promotes individual rights and liberties, specifically the right to self-determination, the right to the fruits of ones own labor, and the right to free association.

Communism, on the contrary, has, at the least, the same capacity for abuse, and actually a much greater one. Why on earth would anyone think that if the individual is too greedy, ignorant, selfish and biased to govern themselves and their own behavior, that a GROUP of the same human beings would be any different? Why would a bureaucrat with the unlimited power of government behind them be any less susceptible to greed and tyranny than a CEO or corporation? At least the corporations aren't symbiotically intertwined with law enforcement and the courts, which have the power to dictate life and death under color of official law, unlike the rest of the government, which the people in it can use to suit their whim, and just change the law when the law says they can't. Personally, I've known quite a lot of people who lived in or under Soviet Russia, and not one of them has ever said they missed it, or wished for a return to it.

If the millennials want socialism or communism, by all means, it's a free country, go some place that has that already, experience for yourself, and if you like it, then stay. But don't use the threat of government violence to force your social and economic policies on me in one of the few countries left that even pays lip service to the notion of an open and free market when there are already so many places that offer what you seek, albeit at the inherent and inextricable cost of liberty and freedom.

Comment Re: But Still (Score 1) 314

No, it relied on water flowing downhill from highly distant and very limited sources that would not - and would never - be anywhere remotely sufficient for a population density like India's. They ALSO used lead pipes, and performed precisely 0 water treatment.

Because, just in case you forgot, those lead pipes are directly attributed by no few historians as the primary cause of the fall of the Roman Empire.

In fact, water availability, even with the aqueducts, was still so limited that people stealing water from the aqueducts was a major issue warranting regular military patrols of them.

Sorry, but there just plain isn't enough snow-melt and unpolluted sources of fresh running water to serve India's needs. You also cannot rely on gravity-based water pressure to distribute water for a population the size and scope of India's. Remember, ancient Rome's population peaked at around 1 million (total 4 million in Roman Italy prior to the Punic Wars), a number tiny in comparison to today's cities, with their needs, much less a common Indian city, with VASTLY higher population densities.

Comment Re:Economics of that stunt are dodgy (Score 1) 206

$60 million to build a rocket, vs. $200k to fuel it. Even if (and I do stress IF) half the fuel cost was to account for inefficiency in carrying extra fuel and landing the rocket, that's still a heck of a lot cheaper than a 1-shot $60m rocket every time you launch.

Even if they reuse the rocket only once before having to scrap it, that halves the mission cost of each launch.

I might suck at math, but even I'm not that bad at it. And de-orbiting something isn't remotely as costly in terms of fuel as you imply, but that's also why the first and primary stage don't actually achieve orbit in a multi-stage vehicle, which, in the history of rocketry, is not something that happens... pretty much ever. As for the later stages, either leave them in orbit, or leave them with just enough fuel to deorbit, but since those upper stages are insignificant in terms of cost as compared to the main launch vehicle, you don't bother landing them, and just let them burn up on re-entry, if you're that concerned about creating space junk.

Comment Really? No. (Score 1) 188

Yeah, how about no? Simply having been involved in a traffic incident is NOT justification for searching my phone and the significant access that device has to very private data - even if texting WAS involved, the police can obtain that data from my cellphone company in the form of records and meta-data that does not include the content of those messages, which is not in any way relevant to the investigation of a traffic accident, much less access to my email, unrelated calling records, location data, etc.: this is about the same as insisting the police be allowed to search my house because a gas station attendant claimed I left without paying for fuel.

So, no. Get a warrant. Even then, I'm not opening it up for you - have fun with that full-device encryption and the scads of taxpayer money you'll waste trying to defeat it over a traffic incident, when you could just subpoena my cell service provider who would be more than happy to provide law enforcement with the specific and relevant information they need for their investigation.

Yet another unjustifiable law enforcement overreach, made possible by unethical technology companies and legislators who either don't understand tech or the Constitution (or are just corrupt and don't care), and sponsored by the state that thinks it's above the strictures placed on it by the Constitution and the 4th Amendment.

Comment Uhhhhh... No. (Score 1) 339

Last I checked, RightsCorp is not a law enforcement agency, and thus has precisely zero Rights as a Corp to do any such thing with my personal, private property based on their suspicions or accusations. This proposal on their part would amount to trespassing, theft, extortion, and racketeering at the very least.

I don't care what you think I've done, or what I've actually done. My neighbor has no more right to break into my home (except in clear emergencies, or to stop/prevent the commission of a forcible felony) and hold my stuff hostage until I pay them money any more than RightsCorp or any other person or business does, which is precisely what they're stating their intention to do here. Even IF I had committed the crime in question, it's up to LAW ENFORCEMENT to investigate and prosecute, not individuals or private entities. The private business can investigate all it likes - within the limits of the law, and with/by licensed private investigators - but not violate my private, personal property and privacy rights. They could film video of me pirating and then watching said pirated movie and STILL not have a single shred of authority to do what they are proposing here.

RightsCorp has long needed to change their name to something less deceitful like "WrongsCorp", but with this, they're trying even harder to earn the title "RightsViolationsCorp", and I hope they get slapped down hard, if not permanently, when they overstep their "rights" with this.

Comment Sheesh... (Score 3, Informative) 182

The amount of baseless FUD the FBI and government pumps out continues to be nothing short of astonishing when considered that it's in the face of overwhelming evidence they're wrong on so many levels.

Because, you know, it's not as if they couldn't just use one-time pads to transmit in the clear over Twitter, or basic steganographic techniques to communicate messages with pictures of cats...

Oh wait... that's probably exactly what they're doing. But that would be inconvenient to the line of bullshit they're trying to sell us. Because it's not as if trying to catch terrorists by spying on the communications of all Americans (and citizens of other nations) is a violation of the Constitution or anything...

Comment Statistics fail (Score 1) 222

As if 1,000 people could even be remotely representative of the millions of people in my state, much less the ~330 million people in the U.S.

Anyone with any wits about them at all recognizes that polls are generally worthless anyway, even when they aren't deceitfully designed to elicit a particular desired response through careful wording of the poll questions. But to assert a mere 1,000 people could accurately represent the views of the billions of people worldwide who use the internet is sheer fallacy.

Comment For all their improvements... (Score 1) 92

For all their improvements,

âoeWe have improved graphics 30 times what they were five years ago,â Bryant said [...]

for all their assertions that,

"Iris and Iris Pro, can outperform 80 percent of discrete graphics chips,"

their GPU's still aren't achieving even half the GFLOPS of my nearly 5 year old GTX 670. These chips might be fine for the 80% of total "PC game players" which, depending on how you choose to define that class, includes people playing Facebook games or other similar low-end titles. These things are not, however, remotely sufficient for any true PC gamer, as even my above-mentioned 670 with 2GB of dedicated memory, is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, and I'm finally having to start turning some settings down to medium on newly released games. There's simply no way you're getting acceptable performance from modern, AA or AAA class games on these Iris chips, and Intel is just blowing hot air to claim that they are a substitute for a discrete GPU PC gaming.

Comment Don't steal, the government hates competition. (Score 2, Informative) 99

"Russia announced the ban on Bitcoin or other 'money surrogates' in February of 2014, asserting that cryptocurrencies facilitates public competition to the government's own money-laundering and other criminal activity while making it more difficult for the government to interfere with legitimate private economic activity."

FTFY.

Comment Thunderbolt not a solution. (Score 0) 172

Proprietary tech under Apple lock and key is not - and frankly should never be even proposed as - a solution to any question or challenge regarding PC design, especially when you're talking about specifying new standards: you might as well suggest using code SCO thinks it wrote while you're at it.

No, the answer when specifying new standards is... to develop NEW standards the whole industry can use, and as the developing body, you get to benefit from leading the charge and being on top. Proprietary hardware and software designs is why Apple's major market today is cellphones, not computers: if they should choose to open the spec for Thunderbolt, that would be one thing, but until then, AMD should be looking for other solutions to this question, such as a dual-link utilizing two USB3 ports, or perhaps a USB3 and eSATA port, both of which are already mature technologies commonly available on many PC's and even laptops.

Comment Get your freedoms right (Score 3, Insightful) 539

I have every right to censor what content I do or do not want to see. I have every right to mute annoying TV ads, skip them, or walk away from the screen, and with my personal computer and internet service, if I want to use - what could arguably said security-focused - tools like AdBlocker to help prevent my internet connection (be it landline, or the much more usage-sensitive wireless/mobile options) from being bogged down with awful, intrusive, and annoying ads, and secure myself against the ad-space that is regularly exploited by malware and the like, that's my right.

The advertiser has every right to speak, to put their speech out there for all to hear, and to not have to fear government censorship (within certain limits). They do NOT have any right to force me to hear their speech when I don't want to, especially when it is not just on a public street corner somewhere I can choose not to go, but is being piped into my home. Just as I have the right to choose who I let in my front door, I have the right to choose who and what I let in my internet doors. If the hosting site suffers too much and doesn't like it, they can always consider a subscription service, or building their content in a different way, and then I can choose to get my content someplace that exercise some restraint over their advertisers and keep it reasonable.

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