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Comment Re:Maybe I'm more anal-retentive than most (Score 1) 168

Which brings me to my #1 pet peeve. Why don't they have longer ramps both before and after security?

I don't like the answer, but I'm giving it to you. So please don't mod me down for being factual.

The reason is that every major airport in the US was designed before the "TSA era." Imagine a movie theater that was designed to just take your ticket, and then having to retrofit it to put a body scanner and personal items X-Ray into your ability to get into the theater. You can't rebuild the building to accommodate the new requirements, you just have to jam it in somehow. And so, in the same space, you have to accommodate all this new "Security Theater" nonsense in the same physical space that never anticipated it.

Everybody hates the new security requirements, and for good reason. But it's understandable why cramped spaces are so miserable now from an airport's perspective.

Comment Re:laptops on the conveyor belt (Score 4, Informative) 168

If it was about that, then they'd open those lines to anyone who had been vetted by the government already. They don't. The lines are open for those who pay.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (I use the TSA PreCheck program, which I paid for, but am not a US government employee with a security clearance). But I believe that if you've already been vetted by the US government in terms of a security clearance or a DoD ID then you don't need to pay for PreCheck, you can just use those lanes automatically. And the average US civilian/military security clearance investigation costs upwards of $50K.

Not to sound like a PreCheck fanboy, but if you fly more than a few times a year it is absolutely in your best interest to pay for PreCheck. Basically they look (from what I understand) to see if you're a felon, are on a no-fly watchlist, and/or have firearms related offenses or "I freaked out in the airport when they frisked me" issues. They take your fingerprints, too.

If you don't have any concerns with the above, then the $85 that PreCheck costs (for a five year term) is amortized over the cost of your time waiting in lines over five years in airport lines. I can't speak for every airport, but in Seattle the time differential between PreCheck and general boarding is often 45 minutes of waiting or more, as well as not having to take off my shoes, not having to take my laptop out of my bag, and generally being treated more like a human being than a Gitmo detainee.

You can make a cogent argument that none of the above is necessary and that it's all Security Theater. But you can't say that PreCheck is something for the one percenters when it averages out to $17/year. If you fly more than a couple times a year - and you value your time - then it's a no-brainer.

Do I believe that the government should prefer a "safe by default" rather than a "safe by exception" profile for its citizens? Yes, absolutely. There's no reason that an 85-year-old grandmother from Minnesota in a wheelchair should face a pat-down and the same security precautions as a 23-year-old Syrian national. I've flown to Israel multiple times (on El Al) and their security precautions (while undoubtedly invasive to anyone) are tailored to the perceived "risk profiles" of the passengers.The US should absolutely tailor its security procedures to risk profiles.

But the TL;DR version is that US security screening, for all its faults, isn't based on who can pay. It's based on an assumption (however faulty) that everyone is a potential terrorist, and that those who fly a lot can make an effort to show that they are less of a risk - at a very low cost when averaged over how often they fly.

Comment Re:Developers say it is safe? What about engineers (Score 1) 242

In this context, I would guess "developer" is used similarly to "business development" which means sales.

What "developer" means in any real estate-related context is the company that bought the land when it had something else (or nothing) on it, figured out a business case for what to build on that land, got the permits, borrowed the money, built the building(s) and assumed the risk/reward of trying to sell the resulting building space to people or companies. It doesn't refer to any specific business function within the company, because any sizeable real estate developer will have on staff (or contracted) any number of people ranging from architects to engineers to project managers to accountants to people who make the glossy "buy an apartment here" brochure.

When a news article says that "[Company] said that..." what they mean is that someone authorized by the company to make statements on the company's behalf. That could be anyone from the CEO or a board member to a lawyer to a PR person.

Long story short, a "developer" incorporates all the functions above, even if the person saying the words is more likely from the sales or marketing side. But there's no way in Hell they are saying things unsupported by their engineers, architects, regulatory staff and lawyers because making willingly false statements about a building's safety can expose you to undreamed-of liability in the case of a failure. Also - this is San Francisco we're talking about. Do you think there's any chance that a building of this size wasn't subject to years upon years of government reviews for safety, stability, environmental impact, community impact, infrastructure impact, etc. etc. etc.?

Comment Re: Valid (Score 1) 590

You mean along the lines of those European "right to be forgotten" laws which require Google remove certain search results form their indices? Let's be fair - that's been going on for a while now. Why didn't get worked up over that?

Umm.. because those laws were in Europe, the Internet Archive was in the US (with no vital business dealings in the EU) and so they didn't apply?

The Internet Archive is basically saying that for the first time they are now actively concerned that Internet scrubbing laws*, executive orders, regulations, whatever will be enacted in the United States where they are based. Hence the move to mirror the archive in Canada.

* Excluding laws about taking stuff off the net that violated laws or copyright statutes etc.; that has always been illegal in the US, and that has not seemed to bother the Internet Archive.

Comment Re: Dear Apple fans: (Score 1) 471

Only profits (going either to shareholders or sitting in reserve), after all the expenses are paid, get taxed.

Just FYI, the profits going to shareholders are already being taxed to the people receiving them - as income on dividends on capital gains tax on increased stock price when they sell their shares. And the reserve is either reflected in an increased stock price (taxed in capital gains on sales) or eventually used in some other way that will get taxed. If they use that reserve to buy other companies, the individuals who held shares in the acquired company will pay tax on the gains commensurate with the price paid. Companies can't "sit" on money forever without it ending up being taxed in some other way.

Comment Re:Who would benefit-- us, but not the parties (Score 1) 1321

Hi! Occam's Razor here! It is more likely that:

There was election fraud going on and it was collusion between the establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats

Both of whom LOVED Trump and wanted to see him elected, right?

establishment Democrats who are looking to get kicked out of the political party they are paid by the corporations to control

Because most large corporations LOVE the Democrats. And most people love getting kicked out of power, too!

focus in on those areas where the Greens and the Libertarians should have done much better

I believe the votes in Candy Land County and Galt's Gulch were already re-counted.

Or is it more likely that the vast majority of Americans thought that the Greens and Libertarians were nut jobs and didn't want to vote for them?

Your choice. Massive alleged voted fraud and "actual full on collusion" between bitter political opponents, or your preferred parties just didn't get that many votes. As the late great Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." Please elaborate. Links to Reddit != "extraordinary proof."

I hate to keep pointing this out, but everybody loves "democracy" until their candidate doesn't win. Then there must be some reason that said candidate didn't win like voter fraud OMG! Nobody ever says, "Well, shit. More people support that other thing than what I support. I guess I need to accept the results and move on." (Full disclosure: my candidate didn't win, either. I wrote in for Alexander Hamilton.)

Comment Reining in "Reigning" (Score 4, Informative) 170

Not saying the NSA collecting is going to halt, but it is going to be reigned in.

Hi, friendly Grammar Nazi here! No offense intended to anyone, so to my liberal friends I am a "grammarian." To my Breitbart-reading friends, I am a "grammar-conscious Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party member."

The recent election has brought up the use of the phrase "reigning in" or "reining in" on Slashdot like seemingly never before. I figured I'd provide a bit of helpful guidance to reduce ambiguity.

To "reign" is to rule in the sense of "regnal/royal" or kingly/queenly control over a kingdom, state or prom court. It is generally used with the preposition "over," as in "to reign over the prom and orchestrate choruses of "NEEEERRRRDDDDSSSSSS!" at the people who couldn't get dates tonight but will later shame us all at the 20 year reunion."

To "rein" is to control an animal (e.g. a horse) tethered to a rider. When used in the phrase describing someone wanting to pull something back from its current pace, "rein in" (e.g. government growth, spending, post-prom unwanted pregnancies) this form is normally used.

Happy reining and/or reigning, depending on your intended expression and/or high school prom experience.

Comment Re:Oh boy. (Score 4, Interesting) 1066

all those people complaining about elites and insiders are in for a shock

That's the problem with voting for "change." You are going to get it.

I was very surprised, just based off reading comments on this site over the past few days, how many ardent Trump supporters are here. I say surprised not because I am assessing a value judgement but because US presidential voting in recent years has become much more strongly correlated with education level, and I presumed that a tech site would reflect certain patterns as a result. (Full disclosure: I did not like any of the available ballot options and wrote in my presidential vote for Alexander Hamilton. I live in a solidly colored state on the West Coast and knew that my little exercise in protest would not have any meaningful effect on my state's electoral college votes, otherwise I would have voted seriously.)

At any rate, it turned out that many many more people than pollsters and the media expected cast their votes in the cause of upsetting the status quo. There's nothing wrong with being unsatisfied with the way things are and wanting to lob a big water balloon full of "f--k you" at the powers that be in this country.

When you vote for the loser, you enter a world of "coulda woulda shoulda" and you can just theorize how things would have been better. But when you vote for the winner, you have to own that vote because you're getting what you said you wanted. That's the price of winning. And it will be fascinating to see whether the people who cast a ballot to shake up the system like what they get when the system actually gets shaken up...

Comment Re:Who says the amounts are equal? (Score 1) 338

It's just anti-intellectualism to assume every person running for office is equally corrupt.

Agreed.But "corruption" - in the dictionary sense of giving outside parties undue influence for personal gain - isn't the only criterion for a person's vote. I think, to your statement, that Clinton is certainly more "corrupt" due to providing favored access and potentially some degree of quid pro quo to donors to her family foundation. But it's possible - although unpalatable - that someone is more corrupt but still better prepared to do their job.

It sucks that we have such poor choices to pick from, but I think many voters will think of it in terms of this analogy. Which would you rather want to be the CEO of your company - a qualified, stable executive who will keep things going OK but has a penchant for lining their own pockets through business deals favorable to their pay? Or an unqualified, loutish, narcissistic executive who says he wants to turn the company upside down to fix things? It's possible that the latter's ideas might be good, or they might be terrible. Many people will probably pick the distasteful #1 over the tremendous upside/downside risk of #2.

Liberals just can't accept the facts: Clinton is evil. Trump says mean things.

I'm not a liberal across the board (socially liberal but conservative in fiscal and national security issues) but I take issue with the oversimplification in this statement.

Clinton is venal, secretive, entitled and a cold fish. Trump says mean things. But he doesn't just say mean things, he believes them. Or at least he does today. Tomorrow it might change. But it seems like he's prepared to take positions based on what he read on the Internet yesterday. If your CIO read an article yesterday about how Azure was great today and tomorrow recommended that everything should be outsourced to the cloud, would you trust his judgment?

Hurting people's feelings isn't the problem. I hate the idea of Safe Spaces and people reading only the websites or watching the TV networks that agree with their preconceived notions. Fuck that.

But ultimately it's very possible that a smart person will be better at being President than a dumb person (or at least one who lacks critical thinking skills). I don't like Clinton at all but I think she's at least intelligent and capable of dealing with things rationally (if with a side dish of self interest). If you think there's an easy solution to a problem that other smart people have worked on for decades and found no clear answer (e.g. immigration) then you're dumb. If you think that you can solve problems with a magic bullet (e.g. the answer to everything is "I would negotiate a better deal" with no explanation of why) then you're dumb. If you say you can solve thorny multi-dimensional problems easily (e.g. "I would defeat ISIS in 60 days but I can't tell you why") then you're dumb.

TL/DR. America faces a presidential choice between two deeply unlikeable human beings. Your choice will probably hinge on your preconceptions but there are some substantive differences between the two evils you are expected to choose the lesser of. The lesser of two evils is still evil, but is also still lesser.

Comment Re:OMG She's still CEO!!!?? (Score 2) 66

Why the fuck is Holmes still CEO? What the fuck is wrong with investors?

There's a pretty simple answer to that. Like Brin and Page at Google, or Zuckerberg at Facebook, she owns all the voting shares.

Not all shares in a public or even private company are created equal. You can create different classes of shares where you still own a piece of the company, but voting rights are different. I could start a company and create 100 shares that get one vote each and sell those, but retain 10 shares of a special class that get to cast 100 votes each, thereby retaining control of the company, even if I only own 9% of the company and its profits.

These arrangements are hardly uncommon, especially among tech startups (see Google and Facebook). These facts are disclosed to investors and it's up to them to decide whether they trust the founders/executives/etc. with the voting shares enough to still invest in the company anyway even though they don't get to call the shots proportionally by voting their shares.

Comment Re:Unreachable? (Score 2) 106

TBH, the headline should be 26 Cases of Samsung Note Fires Have No Evidence Of Being Caused By Faulty Phones. But that's long and not very click-baity so nobody would read it.

TBH, the headline should be "I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens." Look at the beginning of the article:

Lately, a lot of behind the scene conversations have been suggesting that perhaps the Note 7 battery explosion fiasco has been blown out of the (sic) proportion. There's no evidence of any of that, so we won't discuss it any further, but

Then goes on to discuss it. At length.

Makes you think doesn't it?

Really? You went there? Manishs should just had the balls to have written a headline saying "Samsung Note 7s Actually Had No Problems, Everybody Look Over There" then gone back to trawling the dark corners of the web to find a post on a forum in Crimea where the user claimed that his iPhone 7 gave him cancer and post that story to Slashdot as a proven fact.

Comment Re:The U.S. ain't perfect, but... (Score 5, Interesting) 527

How about just fixing where they live?

Because the law of unintended consequences is nowhere stronger, more visible or more impactful than it is in foreign relations.

I think the Obama administration's foreign policy in the Middle East has been feckless at best. But it's earnestly debatable whether that is worse than nothing at all.

Think about it - the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003 was an attempt to "fix where they live." For some people, it made their lives better. For most others, it made it far worse. I think arguments that "how" it was done made the difference are largely specious - to quote the apocryphal Colin Powell "Pottery Barn Rule," we (the US) broke it and we bought it. We took on all the problems of a region divided by sectarian religious and ethnic divisions more than a millennium old that make the US Republican/Democrat divide look like an intramural volleyball game. There was just not going to be a happy ending there.

So we go and get involved in Libya. Did that help or hurt? Probably hurt. So we don't really get involved in Syria. Did that help or hurt? Probably hurt.

That's the thing, there is no unambiguously good or right answer to getting involved in areas where the fundamental tension is too big, too old and/or too "foreign" for you to solve. Was the Republican approach in 2003 bad? Yes. Was the Democratic approach in 2011 bad? Yes. There is no clear right approach and the end result is more dependent on luck and externalities than anything else.

And by the way, this is no endorsement of Trump - rather the opposite. I think the above is proof that anyone who thinks there are simple answers to questions that thousands of smart and informed people have struggled for decades to solve is an idiot. Easy answers sound good, but in situations like these there is simply no such thing as any easy answer. Anything you do will almost invariably have unintended consequences. Getting involved has them, as does not getting involved. Dealing with toxic areas of the world has only "least bad options" at best. "And when you sup with the devil, you should bring a long spoon."

Comment Re:No Such Things As Off The Record (Score 4, Informative) 413

There is no such thing as "off the record". Anyone working PR knows this.

Then you pretty clearly don't work in PR. "Off the record," "on background," "not for attribution" and other deals between sources and reporters are real and specific things and are used frequently every day in "grownup" journalism. These concepts "work" because of mutual self-interest: the journalist doesn't want to burn the source/PR rep/whatever and vice versa because they (or at least their respective organizations) will continue to have to work together in the future.

Dealing with bloggers from sites nobody has heard of and hence have no reputation to uphold by adhering to agreements? Not so much. The PR rep should have known better than to treat a random blogger whining about speaking time/genitals/skin color ratios like a grownup, but that doesn't mean those concepts don't exist and aren't employed frequently.

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