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TSA Pats Down 3-Year-Old 1135

3-year-old Mandy Simon started crying when her teddy bear had to go through the X-ray machine at airport security in Chattanooga, Tenn. She was so upset that she refused to go calmly through the metal detector, setting it off twice. Agents then informed her parents that she "must be hand-searched." The subsequent TSA employee pat down of the screaming child was captured by her father, who happens to be a reporter, on his cell phone. The video have left some questioning why better procedures for children aren't in place. I, for one, feel much safer knowing the TSA is protecting us from impressionable minds warped by too much Dora the Explorer.

Comment Re:So let me get this straight... (Score 2, Interesting) 758

Software companies imposing restrictions on customers through licensing agreements helps them perform price discrimination, which often benefits customers.

We'll I'm an American software developer, so excuse me if I'm hesitant to believe legally allowing (big multinational corporations) to 'price discriminate' is in the consumers 'best interest'. I say this as I've been hearing for years from these same companies how I need to work harder, longer, and for less pay in order to compete with the world's workers. This competition, of course, is not exactly accurate as the truth is that the workers with whom I'm competing are able to work for far less wages since they're the beneficiaries of this price discrimination on nearly all goods and services - prescription drugs, books, media, property taxes, speeding tickets, etc. If the world is now truly Flat, it should be for both the owners and the workers, and legal price discrimination should be allowed only in very special circumstances.

Comment Re:I have never understood this. (Score 1) 276

Mail order has never had to collect sales tax except for in-state customers.

didn't know that - I guess I'm not old enough to have ever used mail order, since the internet existed at least a few years before I got my first credit card.

I suppose it won't be long now 'till Amazon has a nice little Pay By Phone option at the end of their Checkout process. Right before the final 'Purchase' button is clicked confirming the order, the customer will have the opportunity to instead call an 800 number, type in some code dynamically created by Amazon for the order which uses all the same info as the online order, but now enables the user to legally avoids any sales tax.

Hell, they could create a separate app for iPhone and Droid that did it without the user even knowing.

Comment Re:the economic justification is actually simple (Score 1) 565

If we are more efficient at producing one good, and they are more efficient at producing something else, then it doesn't make sense for us to waste money trying to produce it ourselves in the States.

Just like the other gospels that have been indoctrinated as unquestionable self-truths via years of propaganda, this idea of more efficient workers, or comparative advantages as originally termed has got to go.

Three hundred years ago, this idea that some nations or groups were better suited to producing certain products than others held water. Of course we'll trade with some equatorial nation for our tropical fruits and vegetables, instead of trying to grow them in the US.

OTOH, very few products and services of modern times, including those we're talking about in the article like high-tech manufacturing, have anything at all to do with comparative advantages as originally meant.

The ONLY fucking efficiencies that a nation like China has over those of the United States, Western Europe, etc is that of an extremely corrupt and authoritarian government in control of a huge and under-educated population, willing to work as slaves and destroy their environment because they know no better.

And if (when) the Chinese finally overcome these burdens, and start to demand the same treatment workers of Europe and the US spent centuries fighting for, these once-efficient workers will simply be replaced by the now more-efficient peoples in one of the other dozen shit-holes on Earth.

And you can be sure, there will be a good percentage of those among the now-enlightened Chinese workers, as they watch the corporations stealing their livlihoods, spouting off some BS about how they just aren't as efficient as the workers of the shit-hole to where their industries are moving.

Comment American Workers Just Can't Compete... (Score 4, Insightful) 284

Remember this story the next time you try to defend our all-mighty corporations' choice of offshoring every single job possible with the simple-minded argument of American workers just can't compete; they need to toughen up, take a lower standard of living, work harder, become better educated, etc, etc...

In a globalized world, there will always exist a shit-hole even worse than the last. Uless your idea of being more competitive really means accepting conditions so poor that death seems a valid alternative to a rather significant portion of the work-force, you might want to start thinking of a better argument.

Comment Re:Government (Score 1) 751

so there is no immediate contact between the person doing the imaging and the person being imaged

Or in other words, no different than that which the majority of child pornography charges are based on - downloading improper images of children with whom the arrested has never had, nor ever will have, any immediate contact.

Comment Re:How is that sustainable? (Score 1) 453

This absurd idea that we can sell our amazing business and financial management services to the rest of the world forever is going to kill us just as soon they realize that we aren't especially good at it.

The rest of the world did realize exactly this last year, when all their AAA rated bonds became worthless. The Fed was able to smooth things over by paying them back with a huge amount of tax payer money (to be realized as soon as their books, which they're fighting tooth and nail to keep closed, are finally opened). Or did you think there was another reason the US dollar has been heading straight down the last few months and foreign investors are tapering off their purchases of US assets.

Comment Re:I can't help but wonder what their motives are. (Score 1) 319

This would make perfect sense if each product team at Microsoft had complete freedom to design their application without consideration for how their app must further the goal of absolute lock-in of the user to the Windows OS and the rest of Office - the true cash cows.

But obviously this is not the case. Otherwise, you'd see things like Asp.Net run well on a Apache stack (without extra mods), a version of SQL Server native to Linux, XBoxes that share media via a standard network interface, Zunes that sync using standard USB mass storage, MSN Messenger for Macs, etc etc.

Comment Re:What a Troll! (Score 1) 395

Well, you make profits here in America? Pay taxes in America. Take the factories anywhere you want. But pay tariff when you bring your goodies here.

That's still too easy. How about this: the execs that move all their factories, jobs, and capital out of America get to move their plush headquarters and themselves to the same place. I mean it is good enough for us peasants, it should be good enough for them too.

Comment Re:Explained by a Simple Formula (Score 1) 944

You had me going until this:

If Commcast wants to start charging you more every time you request a page from Google, let them.

Many Libertarians are stuck in the world is black or white mode of thought. It is not, and in the case of Comcast and internet access itself, the issue is very gray. Comcast (and its counterparts in all other municipalities) made deals with each community for a monopoly and other subsidies in exchange for agreeing to be more regulated than other industries.

They (and you) have no right to argue that they should not be bound by any 'special' regulation until they give up their monopolies and huge amounts of their infrastructure, which was heavily subsidized by the taxpayers.

Comment Re:CentOS 5.4 is out, too. (Score 1) 483

I thought exactly the same as did you... until I got a new job where software like RedHat, Oracle, and VMware are used extensively, along with an IT department that is awful about keeping the test machines running and providing developers with their own 'valid' licenses of said software in order to do testing and dev work.

At first, I did what any geek would do: tried to 'mimic' the production environment with my favorites, including my distro-of-the-month (currently Arch Linux). After spending way too much time realizing that things like VMware tools, Oracle, and our own software (designed for RedHat) needed a lot of tweaking to get working, I decided to try CentOS. Let's just say things have been much more smooth with CentOs.

Comment Re:Sounds good to me (Score 1) 757

Or is that Americans just don't give a shit about science and engineering any more?

I agree 100%. Americans don't give a shit about science and engineering any more. Why the fuck would they when they know they can major in something like general business, work half as hard as their peers in the engineering department, and make just as much or more, all without the constant worry of being replaced by the team in Hyderabad (or worse - the H1B's from from Hyderabad)?

Comment Re:Sounds good to me (Score 4, Insightful) 757

I say cut our military spending...

icall I used to say this exact same thing. Until I realized I'd been wasting the last few years of my life in the private sector, as a decent and ambitious developer, learning nothing and stagnating. I don't know if it was just the positions I was in, or that all the interesting work has been offshored to Bangalore, but putting up web sites so insurance companies can automate billing was not helping me learn much new technology.

All that changed when I got a job in the military industrial complex. Now I'm doing interesting stuff (mostly geospatial) and actually earning the same as my less intelligent peers who chose to go into insurance sales and law. I'd have to say that the military spending, a huge proportion of which goes to contractors, is basically the only industry allowing US citizens to stay in the forefront, as our universities and other private industries have essentially decided to offshore/import foreigners for all their science and technology needs.

Comment Great Service (Score 4, Informative) 135

After my university account expired, I went with Fastmail after deciding I did not want my non-throwaway email account to be sold to spammers, open for 'harvesting', or at the whims of some company's profit motives. I went with Fastmail's $20/year account and have been a happy customer now going on 4 years. Features I like best:

  • Aliases - instead of having to keep a bunch of throwaway accounts with Yahoo, MSN, etc - I just set up a few aliases. Every so often they're purged, thus the spammers rarely get a hold of my address.
  • Secure Imap (and POP3) access on non-standard ports. Corporations have this nasty habit of blocking access to the standard mail ports. I can access my account using my client of choice from pretty much anywhere
  • Online storage space (in addition to the mailbox space). This allows me to store things like my resume, some ebooks, and other docs online, and even share it as the files are able to URL accessible. I believe the files are accessible over Webdav, but the web interface is good enough.

They've increased storage space over the years, but this is still one thing I wish they'd improve upon. I don't expect them to offer gigs and gigs of space, nor do I intend to basically store my music collection on their servers, but the 600MB mailbox quota and 100MB file storage limit might be increased a little bit. SFTP access to files would also be cool! Another thing that is bothersome is that my main account uses the .fm. This is non-standard, and I wonder how often it looks a little shady to some people who expect all emails to be of the com, edu, or org variety. Might be nice if they'd register another domain under .com that could be aliased to my main accounts.

Another feature that'd be worth the $20/year itself would be the ability to create aliases under the .edu domain in order to get cheap versions of software! I'm sure this is more difficult than it sounds, though.

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.