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Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

Aeonym Re:Nice Synergy (347 comments)

"Take a real scandal (NSA) and link it to a fake one (IRS)"

Translation: "Take government malfeasance that I imagine affects me personally and link it government malfeasance that I don't think impacts me personally...yet"

You (and so many others) fail to appreciate what's obvious to others of us: that while the NSA behavior is egregious, it's now out in the open, and you can take steps to protect yourself. And if you already assume the worst--that the NSA is scanning/saving *everything*, then that can't get any worse.

But the extent of the IRS behavior *isn't* out in the open. It *can* get much worse. If there's *any* politically motivated behavior going on the the IRS, then that is tacit approval and groundwork for more. And you won't think it's a "fake" scandal in a decade when, left unchecked, you find yourself the subject of a tax audit because you donated to the political party not in power. They can put a lien on your house. They can garnish your wages. In terms of practically achievable damage to the average citizen's life, the IRS is far more dangerous. The power to tax is the power to destroy.

You can stymie the NSA. You can't stymie the IRS.

about 7 months ago

The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

Aeonym Re:It's all about ME, ME, ME. (255 comments)

> The author essentially assumes that these car-driving robots will be omniscient

Not a problem--all they need is access to the NSA databases.

about 8 months ago

Take a Picture: Snapchat Settles With FTC Over "Dissapearing" Claims

Aeonym Re:Disappearing $3 Billion (51 comments)

There are plenty of people who believe that being the first person to implement a moderately clever idea makes them indispensable to the modern information economy.

Of course, a disproportionate number of those people are in their twenties and have no real experience or conception of how the wider world works...kind of like Snapchat's founders.

about 9 months ago

Computer Game Reveals 'Space-Time' Neurons In the Eye

Aeonym Re:Is this all that surprising? (105 comments)

My neurobiology degree is about 20 years outdated, but I'm still confident in declaring you 100% wrong. It is well established that many reflexes--which are 'motor action'--occur without any intervention or even awareness of the central cortex. The doctor hitting your knee to get an involuntary kick is one example. Most of the processing involved in walking, including recovering from imbalance, actually happens below the spinal cord.

about 9 months ago

Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

Aeonym Re:do they have a progressive view? (336 comments)

Saying that Texas is full of rednecks is just as accurate as saying that California is full of Mexicans.

about 9 months ago

New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

Aeonym Re:Having a private pilots license (269 comments)

Aircraft injuries/fatalities are only better than cars because the vast majority of traffic is on commercial airlines that are rigorously maintained, with pilots who must pass (relatively) stringent qualifications.

Little private planes are much more dangerous, mile for mile, than cars

about 10 months ago

IPCC's "Darkest Yet" Climate Report Warns of Food, Water Shortages

Aeonym Guess they didn't get the memo... (703 comments)

...that global cooling is the hot topic for all the cool scientists now.

When all you've got is a global warming hammer, everything looks like a carbon emissions nail.

about 10 months ago

Scientists Publish Letter Saying, "We Need More Scientific Mavericks"

Aeonym Just so long as... (126 comments)

Mavericks are great as long as they don't do things like challenge things like anthropogenic catastrophic climate change, amirite?

about 10 months ago

Supreme Court Ruling Relaxes Warrant Requirements For Home Searches

Aeonym Not a problem (500 comments)

You libertarians make this seem like a really big deal, but there's a simple solution: if you want to be absolutely sure the police can't enter your home when they come knocking, just kill everyone else inside before answering the door.

about a year ago

Russia Backs Sending Top Students Abroad With a Catch

Aeonym Re:Nothing new. (167 comments)

But to complete your comparison, you'd also be able to make 4 or 5 times as much money overseas because wages in the US were considerably lower. In the short term, debt forgiveness is appealing--but in the long term it's a bad deal compared to the extra earnings/savings you could accrue.

1 year,13 days

Predicting IQ With a Simple Visual Test

Aeonym But... (325 comments)

"standard IQ tests, which have been criticized for cultural bias"

The voices who complain about cultural bias will always find a reason that any test is biased, as long as it continues to score their preferred racial/ethnic/economic/victim class lower than their supposed oppressors. If current tests showed that poor African immigrants with little schooling were "more intelligent" than the average middle class white person, the tests would be hailed as scientific evidence of the tyranny of the current social regime.

That said, the classic IQ test is very limited. It does measure one thing pretty well, but just what that thing is isn't well defined--and that thing, while helpful in some ways, is in no way required for a successful, happy life.

about a year and a half ago

Australian Government Backdoor Internet Filter Shuts Down 1,000 Websites

Aeonym Re:And the 1000 sites are? (90 comments)

Most likely it was 1000 sites containing images of adult women with small breasts, which as all good citizens know is intolerable in a decent society.

about a year and a half ago

Is "Left" Vs. "Right" Hard-coded Into Your Brain?

Aeonym More quack science (758 comments)

If conservatives are risk averse, why are a strong majority of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs conservative? Please don't say it's because greed and the desire to keep their money overpowers their inherent timidity at the world. That would be incredibly smug.

If liberals love uncertainly and novelty, why are they the ones who push for the certainty and banality of pervasive welfare programs? Please don't say it's because their inherent love of "people" overpowers their personal inclination for uncertainty. That would be incredibly patronizing.

about 2 years ago

Google's Manual For Its Unseen Human Raters

Aeonym Raters gonna rate (67 comments)

I've actually been a Google rater. I spent about 2 years total doing it--long enough to become a 'moderator' who ensures quality feedback from other raters--in between, and supplemental to, "real" jobs. Raters give feedback on lots of Google services but it falls into two buckets: ranking the quality of legitimate results, and learning to spot the "spam".

Legit results are easy. Spam is more interesting. For one thing, I didn't entirely agree with their definition of what spam was--that's part of the reason you still see spammy results in some searches. The other part of course is that the spammers are constantly changing tactics. But it was actually kind of fun learning to spot the various methods spammers can use, and know that I was helping to improve search results by getting them off the front page (and hopefully off the top 100 pages).

But I always assumed that rater feedback was used to judge and adjust The Algorithm rather than individual page results. The Algorithm has always been king at Google.

more than 2 years ago

Etsy Hacker Grants Support Female Programmers

Aeonym Re:I suppose... (211 comments)

If I were part of the otherwise all-male enrollment I'd consider it inherently good, but not for the reasons Etsy does...

more than 2 years ago

Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week

Aeonym Re:Less work, more life (969 comments)

As an American who worked in Denmark (Aarhus and Copenhagen) for two years, I have to laugh at the "better quality of life" meme that people so easily assert about Europe in general, and Scandinavia in particular. Maybe true if your definition of quality of life is only based on nationalized health care, but for the things I consider QoL, they're far behind. Even in the upscale neighborhood of Copenhagen where I lived, the homes (nearly all row houses, natch) are small, old, mildly drafty and unsoundproofed, with feeble plumbing and heating. Denmark's per capita disposable income is also among the lowest in Europe, thanks to exorbitant income tax rates. But wait, you say, Denmark is routinely hailed as one of the most "happy" nations on earth? How do you explain that? Here's why, though an explanation alone can never make it sink in the way firsthand experience can. Many of you will dismiss this explanation as egotistical, nationalistic, racist, ignorant...whatever. For the rest of you: Danes are happy in their low-disposable-income, somewhat-shoddy-living-condition lives because they are all in it together. The quality of shared "Danishness" is a cultural foundation that most Americans literally cannot even imagine. They are a small, proud, culturally, economically and genetically homogenous culture who are individually willing to make shared sacrifices because they see the benefits going to people like themselves. This is why the so-called Scandanavian Model can never, EVER work in the US. And it's not so much that they backstab and keep others from getting ahead, as that there are very strong, generally unspoken social norms such that being seen as trying to get ahead of your fellow Dane is a cause for gradual social ostricization. The culture doesn't hold people back, it prevents them from wanting to risk getting ahead. Important difference. And to any Danes reading, I do love a lot of things about your country. It's the only place in the world where people feel safe enough to leave their babies in strollers outside the supermarket while they shop (incredulous foreigners, I have seen this more times than I can count!). I just can't stand my fellow Americans misunderstanding *why* Denmark is lovely--and the fact that we can never be like you.

more than 2 years ago

Climate Skeptic Funded By Oil and Coal Companies

Aeonym Conflict of interest? (504 comments)

So a skeptic was financially supported by like-minded corporate interests? Stop the presses! I look forward to the shocker exposes detailing how climate change evangelists were given grant money (from likeminded sources) to perform more studies which confirmed *their* beliefs. Oh wait--that won't ever happen. Because the academic grant system is pure and unbiased. LMAO.

more than 2 years ago

How To Enter Equations Quickly In Class?

Aeonym Re:pencil/paper (823 comments)

http://www.livescribe.com/ might be just the thing for you: handwritten notes, digitized without scanning, and bonus audio (and anchored references) to boot.

more than 5 years ago


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