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New Crash Test Dummies Reflect Rising American Bodyweight

DRJlaw Re:What did you expect.. (138 comments)

So if a person merely thinks that they're gay, they're gay.

If an overweight person doesn't think they're overweight...

yesterday
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New Crash Test Dummies Reflect Rising American Bodyweight

DRJlaw Re:What did you expect.. (138 comments)

Overweight people can (with a few exceptions due to medical conditions) change the fact that they're overweight. Gay people by and large cannot make themselves not gay.

Citation needed. For both.

Your "exceptions" are the rule.

Gay people can be celibate.

Frankly I'm more interested in the first point. While gay people can "not be gay," I wouldn't wish it upon them, they've worked hard not to be looked down upon for being gay, and all the more power to them.

Now on to your implied point that it's ok to shame overweight people because they supposedly can change the fact that they're overweight -- just like gay people can change the fact that they have same-sex relationships -- by overcoming fundamental physiological urges that you're oh-so-sure can be overcome by pure willpower.

yesterday
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

DRJlaw Re:It makes you uneasy? (976 comments)

And you think we should "let them wallow in their beliefs" even to the point of using tax payer funded facilities to do so?

I'm pretty certain that they pay taxes as well. The mere fact that you contributed an infinitesimal amount to "tax payer funding" does not mean that you get to dictate how each and every dollar of that funding is spent, much less whether other members of the public have the ability speak at and use a public resource.

You're merely a censorious ass who doesn't believe that they are proposing censorship because they are oh-so-certain that they are right. Yet at the same time you decry "the hate of the masses," because, hey, that affects you...

3 days ago
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Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron

DRJlaw Re:Misleading- Good will is common accounting (255 comments)

Goodwill is the 'gap' between the valuation numbers and the purchase price by definition (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/goodwill.asp).

No. Valuation only combines identifiable tangible and intangible assets. If you do not break out and assign distinct values to intangible assets like copyrights, trademarks, patents, or especially other intangible assets such as distribution contracts, those items do not fall within "book value," but rather the goodwill account. Read your own link. There are times that this needs to be done -- for certain tax benefits -- but otherwise you try to avoid this exercise.

To assign a book value to an intangible asset you have to be able to demonstrate that you've given it a so-called "fair value" . For intangible assets that can extremely difficult to do. The value of the "Coke" trademark is not traded on a market, or readily comparable to equivalents, or entirely described by a separate revenue stream (it is in part - licensing revenue for merchandise - but it is also inextricably part of the value of the base product). The entire point of "goodwill" is to provide an account mechanism for that portion of the fair market price -- the non-book value -- that cannot be marked to an asset market like most physical goods.

3 days ago
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Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron

DRJlaw Re:Misleading- Good will is common accounting (255 comments)

The implied assumption in the article and in the commentary indicates a deliberate misdirection or a simple understanding of the accounting principles involved in how a business accounts for a BAD DECISION. Every business has the ability to use this 'loophole'. But it's not a 'loophole'. It's a simple recognition that a capital purchase that turns out to not be a good deal should have the loss (cost of the purchase price minus the fair market value of the asset) amortized over the book life of the asset against the income produced by the asset.

Kids, this is basic accounting 301 (Intermediate management accounting).

If it were basic accounting 301, then you would have learned that "goodwill" does not equate to the purchase price minus the "fair market value" of the asset. Goodwill represents the "fair market value" of the asset minus the value of the tangible assets -- the inventory, machinery, real estate, etc. that can be quantitatively and qualitatively priced by sales or marking to a known market.

If you were to purchase the Coca-Cola corportion, then you would be spending an enormous amount on "goodwill." That is because the value of the trade secret for the formulation of Coca-Cola, the value of the brand recognition for Coca-Cola, and the value of the bottler network relationships are all intangible assets that do not have a concrete or easily ascertainable value. A significant part of the value of Coca-Cola lies not in the value of the HQ building (real estate), the office computers, lab, and pilot plant equipment (you don't think the actual corporation owns very many bottling lines and delivery trucks, do you?), but in the value of being Coca-Cola and not Royal Crown Cola.

That's goodwill. You didn't necessarily make a bad decision buying Coca Cola because you didn't buy it for the price of RC Cola, you paid for intangibles that contributed to the medium term P/E ratio (or similar metric) that you actually used to detemine the price tha you were willing to pay. If you try to pack that value into the tangible assets of the corporation, which depreciate over time and must be replaced (note, also over much shorter depreciation scales), then you end up with silly values that are way above market. If you offer a price only based on "real" values of the physical assets, the seller is going to tell you to take a long walk off a short pier.

The difference between (1) the price of the tangible assets and (2) the price the buyer is willing to pay and the seller is willing to accept, i.e., the very definition of a "fair market value," is the value of the intangible assets. Some of those you can estimate a value for, if need be, but frequently they are all lumped together as "goodwill." Sure you can overpay and make a bad decision, but that's because you eff'ed up the value of the revenue stream you could generate versus the cost of the debt you took on(or the opportunity cost of the money you took out of whatever other investment you shifted out of to) to buy it, not simply because you spent money on goodwill.

Signed,
A guy who does M&A work

3 days ago
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Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

DRJlaw Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (553 comments)

Freedom first of all means protection of the individual against the destructive power of the collective, freedom to own and operate his/her own self and his/her property, freedom of movement and freedom of contract.

Ah yes... your civic entitlement to protection against the collective, and other individuals, to be secured for you by others (yet without cost). Your freedom to move... on the property of others... since you cannot plausibly own the all the roads you use much less the water you sail upon or the air you travel through. Your freedom to contract... which only has meaning by dint of the power of the collective to enforce the contract.

And last time I checked, you were free to own yourself and your property... unless I understand you to be objecting to eminent domain, in which case you are of course free to abandon your use of those roads, railroads, etc. that the nasty collective forced upon your noble and downtrodden individuals.

Sick, paternalistic societies will end themselves so that eventually freer societies can emerge, too bad we are living here today before that happened.

Good luck with that one.. the period after the fall of Rome was such a grand improvement that I'm totally rooting for a modern repeat.

Go kooks!

about a week ago
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Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

DRJlaw Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (553 comments)

Example, Arkansas:

the State shall ever maintain a general, suitable and efficient system of
free public schools and shall adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the
advantages and opportunities of education.

Shall ever maintain... general... free public schools... secure to the people...

Your inability to parse a governance document for mandatory language which establishes a right does not mean that there are none. You'll note that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution only uses the word "right" once -- a "right to vote" -- yet there are multiple rights protected by the 14th amendment.

It's amazing what one can learn by actually studying and being tested upon Constitutional law, rather than making up ad-hoc theories about how the law works.

about a week ago
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Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

DRJlaw Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (553 comments)

Education is a public good, that isn't the same thing as a civil right.

Seeing as the right to a thorough and free public education is written into the constitutions of most, of not all, of the states within the US, that would make education a civil right.

Civil: a : of or relating to citizens b : of or relating to the state or its citizenry

Civil right: : the nonpolitical rights of a citizen; especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to United States citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress.

Nevermind that you'd be hard pressed to find a society that doesn't provide at some level of education as a matter of right by constitution, law, or the like.

You may mean that it's not a "natural right," but your personal philosophy does not have the power to override the actual state of the world.

about a week ago
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Solar System's Water Is Older Than the Sun

DRJlaw Re:Of course it does. (173 comments)

For anything in the solar system to be YOUNGER than the sun, it would have to be MADE by the sun, or as a byproduct of the sun achieving fusion. Our planet is younger than the sun itself, but the elements that comprise it are much, much older.

That only applies to atoms, not molecules. I can point to oodles of molecules that in a "most recent step" sense were made by the sun (e.g., through UV radiation or 'solar bleaching') and oodles of molecules that in that same sense were not (e.g., plastics).

TFA is referring to molecules of water and whether they tended to form during planetary disk formation and consolidation:

[Shielding from cosmic radiation] makes it quite hard for these regions in the disk to synthesize any new molecules. This was an 'aha' moment for us -- without any new water creation the only place these ices could have come from was the chemically rich interstellar gas out of which the solar system formed originally."

There is still active debate over when and where the typical water molecule arose in the course of events leading to the formation of water-bearing planets. See this article, for example. If verified, this theory tends to favor interstellar formation.

about a month ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

DRJlaw Re:my solution is the gym (819 comments)

I win more times than not and the jackass in front of me gets a sore back for their troubles.

I'll be the jackass complaining to the flight attendant in the sweetest manner possible that the passenger behind me is intentionally burying his knees into the seatback.

With your attitude, you'll be the jackass having a conversation with the air marshalls after backtalking the flight attendant while desperately trying to explain why your knees absolutely must be placed right there.

Winning...

about 2 months ago
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Facebook Blamed For Driving Up Cellphone Bills, But It's Not Alone

DRJlaw Misleading wording. This is not autoplay. (131 comments)

What the article is referring to as "autoplay" is actually preloading.

Odd... because FaceBook calls it "auto-play." Right in the obscure setting in their own app that admittedly allows it to be turned off or set to Wi-Fi only.

The video is not playing on its own, it's just being cached in case you want to click on it.

Odd... because the videos in the newsfeed will play without anyone clicking on them. You merely have to scroll through the newsfeed and land near a video.

This could certainly be a problem for people on limited data plans.

Which are the majority... it's well known that you have to have truly worked to keep a grandfathered unlimited data plan since the 3G-4G transition.

It is not nearly the same kind of awfulness as genuine autoplay, where the video starts up without asking permission.

Since you appear to have no actual experience with the FaceBook mobile app, you'll forgive me for telling you to STFU concerning the relative awfulness of your fictional app versus the actual app. I mean really... you were so certain of how the current app functions that you thought nobody who actually used it would call you out on these 'minor' discrepancies?

about 2 months ago
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Appeals Court Clears Yelp of Extortion Claims

DRJlaw Re:The obvious solution... (63 comments)

That's different. That's open-and-shut libel, which yelp is liable for publishing.

...which yelp is not liable for publishing, since the very summary that you supposedly read points out that "Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) protects online service providers from liability and lawsuits over user-generated content, except in very narrow circumstances where the providers created or developed content themselves."

(Not a lawyer, though).

Which explains why your conclusion is exactly the opposite of the one required by 47 U.S.C. 230. You'll note that the plaintiffs in this case claimed that Yelp authored or co-authored the reviews instead of merely publishing the reviews. That's because claiming Yelp was liable for simple selection and publishing would be so wrong that it'd likely draw a sanction by the court.

about 2 months ago
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Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

DRJlaw Re:Hello, it is 2014 (113 comments)

For devices that will never have more than 2 GB of RAM, it makes sense to save a little bit of memory by using the 32 bit version when it is all that is needed.

If that is your sole metric, perhaps. But x64 mode provides other features such as additional registers, a larger address space for ASLR, etc. Much of the speed increase Google is touting is due simply to the ability of the compiler to use x64 mode code.

about 2 months ago
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Illinois University Restricts Access To Social Media, Online Political Content

DRJlaw Re:Turn it around: (130 comments)

The right to free speech does not mean a university has to provide the publishing infrastructure to make that speech.

No, but it does mean that a public university (note: NIU is a public university, i.e., an institution established by the State of Illinois) which decides to provide a publishing infrastructure cannot the restrict use of that infrastructure based upon the content of what is published without having a compelling interest and using the least restrictive means necessary to achieve that interest.

Your post would be relevant if NIU was debating whether to roll out internet access. Since it has already done so, it does not get to withdraw that publishing infrastructure simply because it views the content as being controversial, political, or somehow less worthy than "approved projects."

Lawyered...

about 2 months ago
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The Billion-Dollar Website

DRJlaw Re:in other words (194 comments)

If you have a small population of people, say 500, and the rest of humanity disappears, what 'rights' do they have? Does one person have the right to live in peace, without one of the other 499 attacking him/her? There is no such right in the natural world where lions attack zebras or hornets attack bears. Do people have that right? Personally I don't believe they do...

Now let's say that one of the 500 is a general practitioner, and has the knowledge needed to treat common conditions the group will face. What if he doesn't want to do so? If he decides he wants to be alone to contemplate his own beliefs for a while, in light of the disappearance of the rest of humanity, does the rest of the group have the right to force him to be their doctor? If he wants to move away, start a small farm to raise vegetables and forget all his medical knowledge, does the group have the right to force him to train someone as an apprentice/replacement? If he will agree to see some people but not others, for whatever reason, do the others have a right to force him to see them as well? Do they have the right to follow him around begging for his attention? Do they have the right to force him into their hut to care of their ailing mate? If he refuses to do so, and fights his way free of such an action, is he to be punished for hurting the person accosting him?

In response to all those questions, my answer would be that the person with knowledge that may be essential for the survival of the group does not have the obligation to act on or dispense that knowledge. Or, in terms of rights, the group does not have the right to force the (former) doctor to do something he is not willing to do anymore. They don't have the right to violate his rights of not being attacked, personal beliefs, or privacy.

So, in conclusion, no I don't think people have a 'right to healthcare'.

That's odd. Because based upon the premise of your argument, people do have a right to healthcare (assuming that the doctor does not wish to die).

Yes, if you strip everything back to the law of nature (Locke-world), and create your own positve law, you can eliminate a right to healthcare. Or, you can enact a positive law creating a right to healthcare. That's the thing about positive law - it is whatever you construct it to be.

But don't argue that there is no natural law right to healthcare. The moment you rely purely upon natural law, there's a right to anything that the stongest dictates, because the strongest (the one with the most power at that instant) can attach that to the only right that matters in that system -- the right to exercise force to obtain what one wants.

Consider this an object lesson in a 'philosophy fail.'

about 2 months ago
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Online Tool Flagged Ebola Outbreak Before Formal WHO Announcement

DRJlaw Only if the criteria for "flagged" are nonspecific (35 comments)

Go to the site. Click to the head of the timeline. Look:

Samples sent to Senegal and France for further tests

So, if you label the "mystery hemorrhagic fever" as ebola, after the fact or without waiting for confirmatory tests, you too can beat the WHO by 9 days.
If you ignore that the WHO's detection regime is the one that has doctors and hospitals sending samples laboratories for confirmatory testing, you too can beat the WHO by 9 days.
If your algorithm identifies dengue fever as ebola based upon "tens of thousands of social media sites, local news, government websites, infectious-disease physicians' social networks and other sources," keep quiet about the fact. Announce your success four months after everyone is sure that it is what you think it is to avoid embarrassing press releases.

This does not appear to be early epidemiological detection by connecting the social-media-dots. This is jumping-the-gun based on early reporting of the processes of an existing early detection program.

about 3 months ago
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Hack an Oscilloscope, Get a DMCA Take-Down Notice From Tektronix

DRJlaw Re:This is Danaher Corp (273 comments)

I do believe that based on limited number of colors, one should not be able to trademark or block merely the color.

Well, the interesting thing about the "rule of law" is that your individual opinion concerning whether one should be able to trademark a color is just that -- your individual opinion.

Meanwhile, the law says that Fluke can do that, and the USPTO has said that Fluke can do that, and a court has said that Fluke can do that, and US Customs listens to those entities.

BTW: GP was wrong. The registration is for a trademark. Whether you choose to call it trade dress because it relates to packaging/construction and separately consider a trademark to be symbols and other abstract graphics does not matter, it's all the same under the trademark act. 15 U.S.C. sec. 1052; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Bros., 529 U.S. 205, 209-210, 54 USPQ2d 1065, 1065-66 (2000).

about 3 months ago
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Airbnb Partners With Cities For Disaster Preparedness

DRJlaw Re:O RLY? (55 comments)

I wonder what other services the government might want to shut down that could be helpful in a disaster ::cough::quadcopter drones::cough::?

Or me, with my handy-dandy M60 machine gun, ready to volunteer to keep law and order and suppress the roaming post-apocalyptic mobs!!

The mere fact that you can think of a use for a resource in an emergency does not mean that you throw-out all non-emergency regulations.

My house would be useful for housing refugees. That doesn't mean that you want me running it as a 24/7 alternative to the Quality Inn. Especially when I'm in the middle of your residential neighborhood.

about 3 months ago
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"ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads

DRJlaw Re: Really? (100 comments)

[Computer programmers] are not necessary to maintain [computer programs]. They are useful only when [a computer program] is written by and presided over by other [programmers], for [programmers].

That is, they are a solution to a problem they create.

The same critique applies to the the general sort reading this site. You can look back at just about every society for most of human history and find that they're unnecessary... right?

If you want to create complex systems to automate data processing and other tasks, you're going to have specialist programmers. If you want to create complex regulations to prevent pollution, unsafe products, financial fraud, etc. you're going to have specialists enforcing those regulations and specialists advising how to comply with the regulations. In either case, you do not simply have lay persons making it up as they go along, with little or no documentation concerning what is happening so that very few people know what to expect.

The more complicated the scope of human activity, the more complicated the regulations, and the more you need specialists to deal with the. Ad hoc rules and ad hoc exceptions to the rules are the definition of "mob rule," at least so long as you prefer a putative democracy to a putative dictatorship -- if not, simply substitute "strongman rule."

about 2 months ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

DRJlaw Re:child casualties (868 comments)

Can someone explain what is happening in that video? I see some children, and an old guy ducking down below then, and someone setting up some piece of equipment I don't recognize. Call me naive, call me stupid, whatever: but seriously, please explain.

The kindhearted individual in the front at 0:08 drops a sizable mortar down a mortar tube and runs for the hills. The next :20 consist of the children and old guy waiting for the mortar to drop the length of the tube and the time delay fuse to expire. At 0:28 the mortar fires, apparently correctly, launching the mortar in the general direction of the kindhearted individual's target.

Of course, if the mortar fired incorrectly or exploded within the tube, that clearly visible collection of children would likely be within the shrapnel zone. Funny how the old guy appears to be keeping them there.

Also of course, if you want to destory the mortar, you're faced the with small problem that you have children gathered within the blast radius of your tank shell, opposing mortar, guided demolition unit (a.k.a air-dropped bomb), or the like.

So that would be what's happening in that video.

The set up and take-down time for that mortar system are also substantially longer than the recorded :30.

about 3 months ago

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