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When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

Curunir_wolf Re:What's it going to take? (120 comments)

How's that for "just putting the head in"?

The term is "just the tip" - and is an example of the biggest lie ever told. Close runner-up is "Only the very rich".

3 days ago

When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

Curunir_wolf Re: The DEA and CIA are both rogue agencies. (120 comments)

It distinguishes a person more closely to the culture they spring from like the difference between saying European or German( although it may be nice to break this subset down to their staadts as well.).

The trend is just the opposite in the EU, though. I've been dealing with a lot of folks from France lately, and they almost universally refer to themselves as "European", or "from Europe".

3 days ago

Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

Curunir_wolf Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contract (124 comments)

Really think about it is there some filter that puts idiots in to government employment while private industry only get the goods ones while paying a lower wage?

Sort of. It's generally referred to as "job security". Most government agencies have both good and worthless employees. The thing is, in government, the worthless employees are almost impossible to get rid of. So those agencies can never be as efficient as a company that can hire people at-will, and can cut staff that is not contributing. Yes, it's possible to fire government employees, but it's very difficult, and it requires putting resources into all the paperwork required to make it happen and avoid lawsuits. And there are all kinds of things that go on in government that perpetuates that, such as tribute, PC issues, long-term employees with strategic relationships, etc. And so the response when more resources are needed is never to look for the lowest-level contributors, but to simply hire more people to make up for the dead weight.

Of course this issue is not strictly limited to government, it can happen to some degree in any old, large bureaucratic organization. But since most government agencies fall into that category, and exist in perpetuity, and rarely if ever face budget cuts, it's more pervasive in government than in private industry.

3 days ago

Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

Curunir_wolf Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (124 comments)

It's a regular template among the privatization crowd. Government only had to accomplish X but screwed up here, here, and here. Privatize and that won't happen. Barely hidden assumptions include: private operations never screw up, private operations never cheat.

Making these kinds of generalizations are not very helpful. What is X, what was the screw up, here, here, here, and what's the best way to handle it? Sometimes privatization IS the answer, but jumping to it can lead to crony capitalism, favoritism, secret deals and even worse outcomes than before. Frankly, I always thought the best examples of slow, opaque, inefficient bureaucracy were in federal government agencies - then I had to deal with Northrop Grumman.

One major issue that must be considered when privatizing, is the function that is being privatized. If you have a service provided by government that can wholly be done by private companies and provide better and more efficient service to citizens, it's certainly a candidate to consider. What is often done, though, is outsourcing of internal functions, such as accounting or IT or, as in this case, facility management. The problem is that when these things are privatized, it's done though legislation, the function is handed over to a company, government employees are laid off or transitioned, and now the actually customer, which is the agency still providing services. But now they are stuck with basically a monopoly providing those services. Due to the top-down nature of control from the legislature and administration, the agency itself is unable to control the costs and service levels. I've seen agencies lay off front-line service employees to cover increasing costs from their private IT contractor. They are unable to fire or hold their service company to account - they have to lobby the legislators or legislative oversight committees to do that. And the contractor has their own lobbyists. This is where "privatization" goes horribly wrong.

3 days ago

Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

Curunir_wolf Re:One small way I try to help. (322 comments)

[citation please]

There are earthworm species that are native to North America (see, for instance, Hendrix's Earthworm Ecology and Biogeography in North America). There are also exotic / invasive species. These species (as well as one or two native species with expanding ranges) are definitely a problem, but that is a different statement from "earthworms are not native to America."

I don't know about earthworms, but I did hear years ago that the native species of lady bug in North America had been entirely supplanted by an Asian variety, and there were no native Lady Bug species left.

5 days ago

Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Curunir_wolf Re:Or, maybe there's no paradox at all. (225 comments)

The paradox arises when this system falls into a black hole causing the information to devolve into a single state.

Or... maybe it doesn't devolve into a single state at all. We can't actually see what goes on inside of black hole... but if our assumptions about what actually happens appear to create a paradox, then maybe it's our assumptions aren't valid, rather than the original basic concept of what a black hole supposedly is. I believe that the concept that black holes are necessarily singularities may be flawed. Space is so distorted by gravity in their vicinity that straight lines which intersect their event horizon never exit it, but I do not think that means that all of a black hole's mass is necessarily at its center, or even necessarily collapsing inexorably towards its center. Its center is just its center of mass.

And yeah, I know that astrophysicists with a vastly more qualifications than I have came up with these ideas, but in the end, an argument from authority does not make one actually right.

The theory of black holes did not come from any observations of physical phenomenon, it came from studying Einstein's theories. The math suggested the possibility of singularities, but at first no one thought they would actually exist in our universe. Of course now we know that black holes DO exist, so those theories are validated. Now we're just trying to figure out how to reconcile with OTHER theories.

5 days ago

Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Curunir_wolf infinitely density (225 comments)

"My name is George McFly, and I am your density."

about a week ago

Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle"

Curunir_wolf Re:hire the team, they can scale (142 comments)

Braidamaged, toxic, idiotic, retard conservative culture (You. You heard me. Did I fucking stutter?) has convinced everyone that nothing can be ever developed in house by a government, ever.

It's known as "crony capitalism", or "Public-private-partnerships (PPP)", and we called it Fascism in the 1930's and 1940's. Leadership on the "progressive" or "liberal" side is at least as guilty of promoting these things as conservative culture, in fact it seems to be conservatives that want to back away from it, while the Democrats are doubling-down. It was the Democrat governor Mark Warner that handed all of Virginia's IT work over to Northrop Grumman many years ago. And, of course, the liberal appointees at Obama's HHS that outsourced the website for millions of dollars more than should have been spent to do it.

about a week ago

Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff

Curunir_wolf Re:So It's Come to This (75 comments)

Except it isn't Google's business plan. Google sells advertising targeting to ad companies. Verizon is selling your data to data mining companies. Google would never sell your data because it's their core business to be the keepers of that data so they can sell targeted ads. Not that Google is altruistic, just that they are themselves the data miners so they are not going to share.

Google offers free services to compensate. Services people tend to find pretty valuable such as Android, Gmail and Search.

Verizon is going to offer "discounts for shopping, travel and dining" read: coupons (ie more advertising). Verizon is going to "anonymize" your data and sell it to anyone and everyone willing to pay.

I see the exchange of value in one business plan, and not the other.

Verizon is offering more than just the points. Your asymmetrical FIOS connection gets upgraded to symmetrical based on your download speed if you sign up. My 150/65 got upgraded to 150/150 and shows it is actually hitting 152/164 consistently. I'll take it, especially considering they could probably have sold the data with no compensation.

Yes, I took it, too. I read all through their terms-of-service fine print, too, and there is nothing there granting them any access to, or additional rights to use, any data or tracking information about me. That is, there was no change in privacy policy stuff for signing up for the Rewards+ program. So whatever data they are selling, they are not collecting / selling more of it than they were before.

I suspect that what they are selling is eyeballs to advertisers or merchants that want access to Verizon's customers. And you get "points" for actually becoming a patron with one of their partners / advertisers.

about a week ago

Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads

Curunir_wolf Re:No More Limited Upload Globally (234 comments)

I went to Verizon's site to check on this for my account. Here's what I got:

My Rewards+


Great news, you are eligible for an upload speed to equal your current download speed, at no additional cost to you! Simply click here and enroll in our My Rewards+ program - it’s easy and free. Just our way of thanking you for being a loyal Verizon customer. Faster upload speed means better sharing experiences. That’s Powerful! Join Now

about two weeks ago

A Look At NASA's Orion Project

Curunir_wolf Re:So depressing. (108 comments)

US government foreign policy prefers it this way, because then these other countries are beholden to us if they want to act militarily. It's hegemony.

Plus, military weaponry is just about the only US export still bringing in money. Civil wars or border disputes crop up, and the US companies get to sell to both sides. Of course, I'm sure State Department advisers would NEVER do anything to encourage those conflicts...

about two weeks ago

Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Curunir_wolf Re:In Verizon's defense (390 comments)

Actually, they did. Verizon has just yet to deliver. Apparently they don't expect to deliver until the end of the year in any case.

Which this article seems to implies it takes Verizon a year to send a technician to 7 cities to connect up a few cables between routers. (And / or maybe install a couple of cards). Maybe Verizon should stop having their techs travel by horseback, they might get it done faster.

It's not that simple. This isn't adding cards and cables to an existing interconnect, it's installing a whole new one. In fact, Netflix will be co-locating servers with content either within or close to Verizon's data centers. So there is lots of logistics involved.

about two weeks ago

Pushdo Trojan Infects 11,000 Systems In 24 Hours

Curunir_wolf No-Ip (32 comments)

Just shutdown No-IP servers. That should fix it.

about two weeks ago

Fossils of Cambrian Predator Preserved With Brain Impressions

Curunir_wolf Re:Oddballs... (45 comments)

That's 'tarded.

about two weeks ago

Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Curunir_wolf Re: Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (533 comments)

So the credit rating was lowered because the Republicans eventually capitulated, not because they "shut down" the government.

Not because they "capitulated," but because it was obvious that they'd play stupid games like that without actually making useful moves towards controlling the debt. Make no mistake, the GOP didn't cause the shutdown because they were concerned about the debt. They were annoyed that they didn't get their way to the exclusion of all others.

Close enough. Neither party is serious about their "stance" - it's all marketing.

about two weeks ago

US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

Curunir_wolf Re:a bit of legislative history (148 comments)

These are easy taxes for the localities to pass.

Then they should be eliminated, or at least made more difficult to pass. WTH?

We need a straight up progressive income tax with no exceptions, deductions, credits or waivers.

Well we already have the most progressive tax system in the world, but you're right, it needs to be flattened, and the vast majority of those deductions, exceptions, etc. NEED to be eliminated. There is a MAJOR issue with the complexity of the current tax code. This desperately needs fixing, and no one is even talking about it.

If they need more money let them raise the base tax. This BS where they tax every little thing and service is grossly unfair and tends to disproportionately shift the tax burden to the middle class/poor and excessively harms the poor.

Exactly this.

about two weeks ago

Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Curunir_wolf Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (533 comments)

The problem is that this system has been thoroughly polarised and distorted due to the amount of money that has been thrown at this process.

No, not really. I know that's the prevalent leftists meme, but it really doesn't wash, and a Constitutional amendment to change free speech, and license journalists, and all the other statist ideas are just a way to protect incumbents and provide them more power to shut people up. Already the rules are quite onerous - I know, I tried doing the accounting for a VERY small disconnected political committee. It's a full-time job just to keep up with the reporting requirements, and it's often used as a tool to crush [real] grassroots opposition, because almost nobody can follow the rules to the letter, and the organization treasurer is personally and criminally liable for failing to deliver reports on time.

The 2-party duopoly is certainly an issue, as Washington warned about. It breaks the balance of power of the executive / legislative / judiciary, because they end up with more loyalty to party than to their branch. But the real issue is the break-down of the Republic, which is designed to vest the greatest authority in the people, then the local government, then state, then Federal which is supposed to have supremacy, but only in very limited, specific powers. State governments are much more responsive to their constituents, and local governments even more so. Unfortunately, the Feds are now exerting police powers (which they were never supposed to have at all), the bureaucracies are heavily armed (from the FBI to the USDA even down to the Department of Education), and the centralization of power is out of control.

Rule of law? Who at the Federal level does anything but laugh at such an idea - it's gone.

about two weeks ago

Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Curunir_wolf Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (533 comments)

I take it you are unfamiliar with the history of coal miner unions? Corporations have used PLENTY of violence. You may want to look up The Battle of Blair Mountain.

Yea, I did... the rebellion was put down by local law enforcement - Logan County deputies - the government.

So this just proves my point. Don't rely on government to protect you, they use violence as the means to their end.

And, let's face it, labor disputes are a really BAD example. Labor unions are certainly guilty of instigating violence in many instances, even today. And since the 1970's, they are almost impossible to prosecute when they do so.

about two weeks ago

US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

Curunir_wolf Re:a bit of legislative history (148 comments)

As was previously pointed out, there is nothing in this bill to prevent PAYING FOR Internet services out of tax revenues, only that services can't be arbitrarily made more expensive by local governments, states, and the Federal government itself. There's also nothing preventing municipalities from building networks and Internet services - and they can charge for that service just like anyone else. They just can't charge a service fee AND a tax.

So your rant is based on a false premise.

To use your phrasing, it says we don't want governments shitting on the idea of having Internet access without paying a tax for the privilege.

about two weeks ago



Neutrinos seem to be exceeding light speed

Curunir_wolf Curunir_wolf writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Curunir_wolf writes "Researchers at Cern have come across a puzzling result: The neutrinos they are emitted from underground to the laboratory detector 732km away appear to be getting there faster than the speed-of-light limit would allow. The experiment, the Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus or OPERA, was developed to study the phenomenon of neutrino transmutation (neutrinos changing from one type to another. The speed of the neutrinos, of course, was an entirely unexpected observation. "We wanted to find a mistake — trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects — and we didn't." says researcher Antonio Ereditato, "When you don't find anything, then you say 'Well, now I'm forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinise this.'""
Link to Original Source

Obama appointee's office raided in bribery sting

Curunir_wolf Curunir_wolf writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Curunir_wolf writes "Just a month after President Obama names Vivek Kundra to the top federal IT position, his D.C. Office is raided by the FBI in a bribery sting. No word on whether Kundra is a object of the investigation."



Top 10 Movies of All Time

Curunir_wolf Curunir_wolf writes  |  more than 9 years ago Here are my picks for the top 10 movies of all time, in alphabetical order:

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Back to the Future
  • Bladerunner
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Casablanca
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Rocky
  • Star Wars
  • True Grit
  • The Wizard of Oz

That's it. Not everybody's top 10, but it's mine.


Anti-GPL Software drones

Curunir_wolf Curunir_wolf writes  |  more than 9 years ago Has anyone noticed how whenever anything positive about Linux,, Firefox or other GPL/opensource software shows up in the media, there are always negative responses that show up in letters and responses? I'm not just talking about /. articles, here. It's everywhere in print media, call-in shows, and anything else I've seen. Kim Komando, Popular Mechanics, and similar "layman-accessible" media that addresses tech issues are very popular targets.

Here are some /. examples of the kind of thing I'm talking about:

Ok, I'm too lazy to find more examples now, but I come across them all the time.

I'm not the only person that has noticed these trends on /. Check out this thread

But it's not just slashdot, these folks are all over the place, especially in the mainstream publications. So, is it just that there are a lot of loyal Microsoft fans out there (kind of like Apple zealots, but enamored with Windows), or is it underground marketing? Like Proctor & Gamble spending less on TV spots and more on product placement in movies, has Microsoft turned to promoting "opinions from the man-on-the-street" instead of slick advertising?

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