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Secret Service Investigating Romney Tax Hack Claim

DesScorp Re:Don't worry, Romney... (836 comments)

Is that the mantra? Is there some reason we shouldnt be going after someone committing this kind of blackmail: "Give us money or we put your private info (potentially including SSN) out for the world to see?" Wow, what heroes.

The SSN was never intended to be a secret number, just unique.

As for tax returns, many countries see this as public information

The United States isn't "many countries". It's the US. How much money someone makes or how much they paid in taxes is none of your business here. Speculate all you like, but unless the IRS starts asking questions, Romney's tax returns are his business and his business alone. If you don't like that, tough, because the majority of Americans like it that way and don't want to give some Internet asshat access to their tax info.

more than 2 years ago
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Estonia To Teach Programming In Schools From Age 6

DesScorp Re:boo (307 comments)

Computer programming is not such a fundamental area of study that it deserves to be elevated to the level of "math", "reading" and "writing". To a large extent this is a zero sum game. To teach programming in primary school necessarily crowds out something else. History? Foreign language? Music? Some subject other than "computer programming" is getting the shaft.

Hopefully it's religion.

In what US public school is "religion" taught? I don't know about your country (Ireland?, judging from your nick), but in the US, courts have pretty much chased any religious studies whatsoever from public schools. Instead, we spend half our time doing essential courses badly (English, Math, etc), and fill the rest of the time with feel-good nonsense fad courses, that come and go according to fashion.

Here's my prediction: any requirement for a programming education at public schools will come at the expense of the "essentials", and the fluff will remain. Which means that in all likelihood, "programming" will be as bad as many other subjects.

more than 2 years ago
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Partisan Food Fight Erupts Over NASA, Commercial Space

DesScorp Re:Obama should... (164 comments)

...come out and endorse doubling NASA's budget.

Then the Republicans will do an about-face and claim that Obama isn't supporting private space initiatives and they will claim to double their support for Space-X and whatnot.

Republicanism is party before country and "whatever it is, I'm against it."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtMV44yoXZ0

--
BMO

Too bad he's never going to do that, eh? He's going to continue to spew platitudes about space. And nothing else. He's going to be "for it", without spending on it. Obama doesn't give a rat's ass about space, NASA or private sector either. Second, aren't Democrats always bitching about "investment" in the government? So backing NASA spending doesn't prove their patriotism, but, say, spending on light rail would?

Or, are you just another hypocrite on the Internet that bitches about how the other side is evil?

more than 2 years ago
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The True Challenges of Desktop Linux

DesScorp Re:minimalist (505 comments)

Perhaps Linux needs a minimalist leader. Throw everything out. Then step by step, bring back features and see what works, and what doesn't. In the process make sure that everything has a consistent look and feel.

Linux on the desktop hasn't happened for one reason, and one reason only: Linux is fractured. There are several desktops, window managers, package systems, even kernels. This isn't the case with OS X or Windows, where you have a single API and standard to develop for. No commercial developer is going to write software for a chameleon operating system with a half dozen desktop packages.The same thing that caused Linux to take off with hobbyists and adapt so well to the server room is the same thing that will prevent it from ever being a major desktop OS: choice to the extent of almost chaotic proportions. Apple in particular succeeded because they in fact limited choices in some spheres for the sake of consistency and unity. And it worked for them.

Everytime the Unix community... Linux included... has tried to bring things together into a single standard of some kind, the result has either been something that looks like it was put together by committee *cough*CDE*cough* or lots of end users went "Nope, I'm gonna fork it", and produced so many variants that one standard never catches on.

There will never be a "Year of the Linux Desktop" because there will never be a single Linux.

more than 2 years ago
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Promising New Drug May Cure Malaria

DesScorp Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (190 comments)

... they'll all die of starvation anyway.

This is silly and absolute Malthusian nonsense. It's not how many kids a country or region has, but how well they support themselves and use their resources and grow their economies. Some parts of Africa are doing quite well, thanks, feeding growing populations as they learn modern agricultural techniques and develop markets for foodstuffs that increase production and efficiency and lower costs. The United States went from a population of around 15 million to over 300 million in just over two hundred years. And even our poor people are fat. More people does not necessarily equal starvation. In free economies, it's actually the opposite case. Instead of handing out condoms, you'd be better off teaching modern agriculture and encouraging development. Economies and wealth (and food production is very much a part of wealth) are not a zero sum game.

more than 2 years ago
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The Case Against DNA

DesScorp Re:Willful Frame Jobs (166 comments)

That is what is so terrifying about the police having DNA samples on hand apriori: NO MORE UNSOLVED CASES!! Contaminate the evidence with someone's DNA you already have on hand (if you don't like them for racial, political, or personal reasons, that's just gravy), and bingo! Instant conviction by idiot juries who can't spell GUILTY without using the letters D, N, and A.

Also, isn't casting doubt on DNA based evidence also a double edged sword? You've got groups like the Innocence Project that rely almost entirely on DNA as a means of proving their client's innocence. If you can cast doubt on DNA evidence when trying to convict someone, you can also cast doubt on that evidence when trying to prove someone innocent.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Rejects Drone Strike App

DesScorp Re:apple just doesn't want to touch that (234 comments)

Apple has just become Big Brother in their 1984 Superbowl Ad

. The irony.

Well, in a way, yes. Because Steve Jobs, after years of experience with the first Mac and at NeXT, decided that maybe Big Brother existed for a good reason, was actually necessary, and that he was doing the world a favor by being a better Big Brother, and that the world would love him for it. And you know what? After billions in sales and millions of devices sold to adoring fans... the vast majority of which had never purchased an Apple product in the pre-comeback era... the world proved him right.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Should a Unix Fan Look For In a Windows Expert?

DesScorp Re:Well, not calling them a "fan" might be a start (454 comments)

^This

Also stay away from people who have all the certifications.

I wouldn't say that. What I would say is "stay away from people who have certs but not much in the way of real experience". Really, it's not that hard. Ask for references and work history. Check on those references, and call former employers. Ask "does he know his stuff?" If he does, and has a good work history that satisfies you, hire him. Anything else is minor. Despite all the mockery here at Slashdot, most Windows admins aren't dummies, and do a good job and know their stuff, and they know stuff beyond Windows. If they're good, they'll learn everything they need to know about a mixed shop soon enough.

more than 2 years ago
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When Flying Was a Thrill

DesScorp Re:You can still fly this way if you want to (382 comments)

Just buy a ticket for business class.

This is basically what it comes down to. If you don't wanted to be treated like freight, then don't pay freight prices. All that glamorous air travel of the past? Hey, I romanticize it too... especially the flying boats that worked Pacific routes. But when the article says that it was expensive, I dont' think you get the picture of just HOW expensive it was: "In 1939, a one-way ticket from San Francisco to Honolulu cost $278, and a one-way ticket to Hong Kong cost $1,368. In 2010 dollars, these were $4,317 and $11,803.

Even paying for first class is nothing like that today.

The fact is, when something becomes cheap and common, then it loses its glamour.Flying was glamorous preciesely because only a few could do it. Space tourism is much the same way right now. If it ever becomes common and affordable, in 100 years you'll read stories on Slashdot's MegaNet page about how much the Space Travel Security Agency sucks, and how they groped grandma and held up her sub-orbital flight to Europe, and what a ripoff it is to charge for blankets and Tang on a 15 minute flight.

more than 2 years ago
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Let the Campaign Edit Wars Begin

DesScorp Re:If Obama's BIRTH can be an issue (571 comments)

Obama's place of birth is an actual Constitutional issue. Ryan's cliques in high school are not.

It is a Constitutional issue only because he is black. Nobody gave a shit that McCain was born on a military base in Panama or that Romney's father was born in Mexico when he tried to run for President. But Obama had to have been ineligible. It is a double-standard and it is racism. And it is also factually incorrect. So fuck you for bringing it up again.

American military bases are considered sovereign US territory for reasons of birth, just like the Navy's ships and American embassies. Anyone born there is considered to have legally been born on US soil. This isn't new or noteworthy, this is longstanding United States law. Also, a candidate's parent's birthplace has zero consequence in the Constitution. And you'd know that if you'd bothered to take 30 seconds to Google an answer instead of sounding like a fool.

more than 2 years ago
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White House Pulls Down TSA Petition

DesScorp Re:Two can play at this game (638 comments)

That wasn't true of the US from WWII to about 1960. Truman and Eisenhower were modest people. Truman ran a hat store. Eisenhower was a night supervisor at a creamery before he got into West Point. That period was probably the most successful in American history.

It's easy to be successful when the rest of the world is still digging out of the rubble, and you live in the only place that went both untouched by the war on your mainland, and also had the last major center of industrial production intact on a large scale. You're giving people credit for all the wrong reasons here.

more than 2 years ago
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White House Pulls Down TSA Petition

DesScorp Re:Two can play at this game (638 comments)

You've got it all wrong. People are actually inherently good, and their altruistic motives are mostly hardwired.

And just what proof of this do you present? Because I present, for my case of man being inherently flawed and evil unless taught not to be and enforced with laws and social codes, the entire history of the human race. You're essentially using Rousseau's "noble savage" argument, that man, until corrupted by civilization, is inherently good. But it fell out of favor because common sense triumphed, and we re-discovered that, shockingly, savages tend to be... savage.

more than 2 years ago
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Romney Taps Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan As Running Mate

DesScorp Re:And you thought the Win8 UI was ugly.... (757 comments)

This seems to be the political equivalent of Microsoft's forthcoming release of Windows Vista 2.0... Pretty, but dysfunctional... sleek but pointless, rich but morally and ethically bankrupt.

Dysfunctional? Are you that much of a hypocrite?

Ryan worked for a long time on a budget, with a real plan, with actual numbers that he'll argue and defend. He has ideas. His opponents on the other side of the aisle... they don't even have the courage to produce an actual budget. How long as Congress gone without a budget? How long has the country been running on "continuing resolutions"? Four years now. Where's your criticism of that. I don't want to hear about "morally and ethically bankrupt" from such people. It's like getting a lecture on ethics from a mugger.

more than 2 years ago
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Romney Taps Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan As Running Mate

DesScorp Re:Diversity (757 comments)

Further to his right, basically, you have the fascists/ultra-nationalists. Which is where the GOP is.

You had some decent analysis until you got to that part. And then you just blew your credibility right out of the water.

more than 2 years ago
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Romney Taps Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan As Running Mate

DesScorp Re:As a Wisconsinite (757 comments)

I fine this particularly lulzy. I don't think he could have picked a less likable running mate.

Plenty of your "fellow Wisconsinites" keep sending him back to office. So maybe... just maybe... the "lulzy" is just with you.

more than 2 years ago
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Romney Taps Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan As Running Mate

DesScorp Re:Pro Move, Romney (757 comments)

Bush Junior inherited a budget surplus from Clinton's term.

Dubya inherited a phantom surplus built on a tech bubble that went bye-bye, all on its own. The "surplus" was always smoke and mirrors... fake money created by a fake boom built on fake promises. Remember how much the stock for VA Linux... which owned Slashdot... went for? Remember how it dropped like a rock when investors realized there were no profits to be had? Yeah, that's your "surplus" in a nutshell. The "surplus" went away for the same reason that instant dot com millionaires were pouring lattes at Starbucks for a living shortly afterward; there was no "there" there.

more than 2 years ago
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Romney Taps Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan As Running Mate

DesScorp Re:Pro Move, Romney (757 comments)

A delayed reaction to the financial meltdown which, again, happened on his predecessor's watch.

But don't let facts get in your way.

Blaming it all on Bush certainly isn't letting "facts get in the way". It's downright dishonest. At what point, pray tell, does Barrack Obama ever become responsible for his own actions, ideas, and proposals?

more than 2 years ago
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Romney Taps Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan As Running Mate

DesScorp Re:News for Nerds???!! (757 comments)

Nope, he rejects her because she was an atheist. He's always rejected her, didn't you know? All those words of praise in the past never happened, we all imagined it! We've always been at war with EastAsia!!

This is the kind of dishonest argument we see on Slashdot all too much. One can agree with some of a person's positions and not all of them. Thinking that Atlas Shrugs is an important book doesn't necessarily imply that you agree with Ayn Rand on every single thing she believes. I'm fond of saying that Rand got many things right for the wrong reasons. I certainly don't agree with her on her anti-religious beliefs, and I have some serious misgivings with Objectivism. But that doesn't change the fact that I think she made a lot of important arguments in her books. You seem to be arguing, however, that to endorse one idea is to be forced to endorse all the ideas of the writer. This simply isn't true. Do YOU endorse every single idea of the writers that you read? No? Then why do you expect others to do so?

more than 2 years ago
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CowboyNeal Weighs In On the Windows 8 "Metro" GUI

DesScorp Re:Downgrade rights (671 comments)

As always, we support the provisions that give us stuff, but dont support the provisions that pay for it.

That could describe the American electorate in a nutshell, yes. I want X or Y, but make that other guy pay for it.

more than 2 years ago
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CowboyNeal Weighs In On the Windows 8 "Metro" GUI

DesScorp Re:Business Workstations (671 comments)

No company in their right mind is going to adopt Windows 8 for their business workstations if Microsoft forces the Metro interface on everyone.

If businesses were given a choice, they'd have surely vetoed the ribbon interface in Office 2007. But they weren't given a choice. They were told "tough, the ribbon stays". And businesses bought Office anyway.

Conclusion: when they bitch about Metro, Microsoft will say "tough, Metro stays", and sooner or later, businesses will adapt to Metro anyway. Microsoft always wins with these things.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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WV buys $22K routers with stimulus, puts them in small schools

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "The Charleston Gazette is reporting that the state of West Virginia has purchased hundred of enterprise class routers from Cisco at over $22,000 dollars apiece via federal stimulus money. The stimulus cash was intended to spread broadband coverage. The problem is that the routers are overkill, and are being placed in small schools and libraries with just a handful of users. The West Virginia Office of Technology warned that the purchase was "grossly oversized" for the intended uses, but the purchase went through anyway. Curiously, the project is being headed up not by the state's usual authorities on such matters, but by Jimmy Gianato, West Virginia's Homeland Security Chief. In addition to the $24 million contract signed with Verizon Network Integration to provide the routers and maintenance, Gianato asked for additional equipment and services that tacked an additional $2.26 million to the bill. Perhaps the worst part is that hundreds of the routers are sitting in their boxes, unused, two years after the purchase."
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'Gaia' scientist backpeddles on climate change

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "James Lovelock, the scientist that came up with the "Gaia Theory" and a prominent herald of climate change, once predicted utter disaster for the planet from climate change, writing "“before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.” Now Lovelock is walking back his rhetoric, admitting that he and other prominent global warming advocates were being alarmists. In a new interview with MSNBC he says:

"“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.
“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.
“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising – carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added."

Lovelock still belives the climate is changing, but at a much, much slower pace."

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Homeland Security raids... a flea market

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "The Baltimore Sun reports on a raid at a flea market for counterfeit merchandise and pirated music/movies. The catch? The raid was carried out by the Department of Homeland Security.Further, they've been planning this for some time. " Nicole Navas, a public affairs specialist with the Department of Homeland Security, said sports apparel, musical recordings and cosmetics were among the items under scrutiny in the 2 1/2-year-long investigation."

What in the world makes this a homeland security issue? Like the TSA, these actions from Homeland Security point to a future of unlimited expansion to authority beyond the original scope of these federal agencies."

Link to Original Source
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Has the infamous Goatse guy been found?

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "If you were on Slashdot in the late 90's and early 2K's, then you've probably been "Goatse'd". Someone posts a link about a supposedly innocuous subject, you click, and suddenly you're looking at something you didn't think was humanly possible. Goatse'ing was a form of RickRolling, only with a "What has been seen cannot be unseen" aspect. For years, people have speculated: "Who IS that guy?". Was he some otherwise normal guy... a doctor, lawyer, mechanic, that just had some very kinky personal tastes? It was noted that in his pic, he wore a wedding band. Was this the guy sitting next to you in church?

Adrian Chen at Gawker claims to have found the man responsible, and describes the process of how the Internet's first truly infamous meme began, and how it spread."

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Public Radio International retracts Apple story, admits fraud

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "PRI, the produces of NPR's popular "This American Life" have completely retracted their story about conditions in Foxconn's factory that makes Apple products, releasing this statement:

This American Life has retracted this story because we learned that many of Mike Daisey's experiences in China were fabricated. We have removed the audio from our site, and have left this transcript up only for reference. We produced an entire new episode about the retraction, featuring Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz, who interviewed Mike’s translator Cathy and discovered discrepancies between her account and Mike’s, and New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, who has reported extensively on Apple. Ira also re-interviewed Mike Daisey to learn why he misled us.

The episode in question had been the most popular in the history of the program. Mike Daisey defended himself by saying he uses "fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story.""
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Heartland claims "science memo" is a fake

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "Following the earlier story about the UK Guardian obtaining secret memos from The Heartland Institute concerning the suppression of science education, the institute has replied that the "smoking gun" memo the Guardian has is a fake:

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact. We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions. The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

Heartland also says that some genuine documents were stolen:

The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.

So... who is telling the truth here?"
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NASA to cut Mars mission

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "Faced with budget cuts, and forced to choose between deep space observation or a mission to Mars, CBS reports that NASA will kill most of its Mars exploration programs. Sources in NASA say that of the $300 million being cut from the space agency's budget, two-thirds were for a joint US-EU program for Martian exploration. NASA spokesman David Weaver said that, just like the rest of the federal government, the space agency has to make “tough choices and live within our means.”"
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The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DesScorp writes "A story from UK's Guardian reports on a study of ice levels from the Himalayas area, and finds that no significant melting has occurred, despite earlier predictions of losses of up to 50 billion tons of ice. "The very unexpected result was the negligible mass loss from high mountain Asia, which is not significantly different from zero", said Professor Jonathan Bamber, who also warns that 8 years simply isn't enough time to draw conclusions. "It is awfully dangerous to take an eight-year record and predict even the next eight years, let alone the next century," he said."
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Columbus blamed for Little Ice Age

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  about 3 years ago

DesScorp writes "Science News reports on a story where scientists blame the little ice age on the discovery of the "new world", and the native depopulation and deforestation that resulted. "Trees that filled in this territory pulled billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, diminishing the heat-trapping capacity of the atmosphere and cooling climate, says Richard Nevle, a geochemist at Stanford University." The story notes that the pandemics in the Americas were possibly an example of human climate manipulation predating the Industrial Revolution, though isotope measurements used during research have much uncertainty, so "that evidence isn't conclusive"."
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Turkey to impose new Internet controls

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DesScorp writes "Beginning in August, the Turkish government will mandate that all ISP's implement a new web filtering regime, under the auspices of protecting Turkish children. The Turkish government calls the program "Safe Use of the Internet". Many in the country fear that the program is the opening salvo in an outright attempt to censor the web in Turkey. "We are concerned that the government [will] enforce and develop a censorship infrastructure," said Law Professor Yamman Akdeniz at Bilgi University in Istanbul. The article notes that Turkey already bans more websites than any country in Europe."
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World's last typewriter factory closes

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DesScorp writes "The last factory in the world manufacturing typewriters has ceased operations. Godrej and Boyce shut down their Mumbai plant. They're down to around 200 machines in stock... most are Arabic models... and plan mainly to service India's government and military sector in the near future, both of which still heavily rely on typewriters."
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The end of the "Age of Speed"

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DesScorp writes ""The human race is slowing down", begins an article in the Wall Street Journal that laments the state of man's quest of aerial speed: we're going backwards. With the end of the Space Shuttle program, man is losing it's fastest carrier of human beings (only single use moonshot rockets were faster). "The shuttles' retirement follows the grounding over recent years of other ultrafast people carriers, including the supersonic Concorde and the speedier SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. With nothing ready to replace them, our species is decelerating—perhaps for the first time in history", the article notes. Astronauts are interviewed, and their sadness and dissapointment is apparent. In the 60's and 70's, it was assumed that Mach 2+ airline travel would one day be cheap and commonplace. And now it seems that we, and our children, will fly no faster than our grandparents did in 707's. The last major attempt at faster commerical air travel... Boeing's Sonic Cruiser... was abandoned and replaced with the Dreamliner, an airliner designed from the ground up for fuel efficiency."
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Bastardi's Wager

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DesScorp writes "AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has a challenge for climate scientists. He wants one or more of their rank to accept a bet about temperature trends in the coming decade. Bastardi is making specific predictions. "The scientific approach is you see the other argument, you put forward predictions about where things are going to go, and you test them,” he says. “That is what I have done. I have said the earth will cool .1 to .2 Celsius in the next ten years, according to objective satellite data.” Bastardi’s challenge to his critics — who are legion — is to make their own predictions. And then wait. Climate science, he adds, “is just a big weather forecast.” Bastardi's challenge is reminiscent of the famous Simon-Ehrlich Wager, where the two men made specific predictions about resource scarcity in the 80's."
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Australian police investigating Julian Assange

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DesScorp writes "The AP reports that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being investigated by Australian police for possible violations of the law. Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland states that there are "potentially a number of criminal laws" that Assange may have violated. Defense Minister Stephen Smith said that a cross-government committee was trying to determine how much damage to national security could have been done. "This is an act which again one has no option but to absolutely condemn it. It potentially puts national security interests and it puts the safety and welfare of individuals at stake", Smith stated. The article noted that the United States government had warned the Australian government of the coming leaks"
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WikiLeaks: WMD's were found in Iraq

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 3 years ago

DesScorp writes "Wired reports that among the latest batch of war documents that WikiLeaks released included documentation showing that various quantities of banned WMD's were found in Iraq well into 2008, though in much smaller quantities than the Bush Administration feared. Almost all were chemical or biological agents (or technologies used to make them), and years into the Iraq War, the concern shifted to Al Qaeda and their insurgent allies acquiring and using the leftover agents against US allied forces. Among the weapons that were found were 155 mm shells with mustard gas. Other documents deal with the capture of "foreign agents" helping the insurgents in an attempt to use leftover chemical weapons."
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A modern day Julius & Ethel Rosenberg?

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DesScorp writes "Recalling the famous Rosenberg nuclear spy case of the 50's, the US Justice Department has arrested a couple working at at "leading nuclear research facility" for giving nuclear secrets to Venezuela. Pedro and Marjorie Mascheroni "have been indicted on charges of communicating classified nuclear weapons data to a person they believed to be a Venezuelan government official and conspiring to participate in the development of an atomic weapon for Venezuela," the department said in a statement. If convincted, the couple would receive life in prison."
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Astronomer Royal: man in space is a waste

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DesScorp writes "The U.K.'s Astronomer Royal argues that "sending people into space is a waste of money". In article from the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, Britain's top astronomer argues that only sending robots into space makes any sense and that manned spaceflight should essentially be abandoned. The Cambridge professor of cosmology and astrophysics makes his case in stark terms: "The moon landings were an important impetus to technology but you have to ask the question, what is the case for sending people back into space?" said Rees. "I think that the practical case gets weaker and weaker with every advance in robotics and miniaturisation. It's hard to see any particular reason or purpose in going back to the moon or indeed sending people into space at all.""
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Kagan against porn and "hate speech"

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DesScorp writes "SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan hasn't left much of a paper trail during her legal career, which may make gauging her ideas and opionions somewhat difficult. But there are some positions she has made clear statements on, among them, pornography and "hate speech". In a 1993 University of Chicago seminar on the subject, Kagan argued that the government wasn't doing enough about the spread of porn or hate speech. She argued that new approaches were needed to fight their spread, as well as taking a fresh look at old approaches, such as obscenity laws. Kagan included herself among"“those of us who favor some form of pornography and hate speech regulation” and told participants that “a great deal can be done very usefully” to crack down on such evils.
Kagan steadfastly argued that pornography was a threat to women as it contributed to sexual violence, and on that basis could be prosecuted to some degree. "“Statutes may be crafted in ways that prohibit the worst of hate speech and pornography, language that goes to sexual violence. Such statutes may still be constitutional,” Kagan assured the meeting. She pressed for “new and harsher penalties against the kinds of violence against women that takes place in producing pornography, the use of pandering statutes and pimp statutes against pornographersperhaps the initiation—the enactment of new statutes prohibiting the hiring of women for commercial purposes to engage in sexual activities.”"

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Antarctic melt maybe 'not due to climate change'

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DesScorp writes "New research suggests the increased melting of the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica may not be due to climate change, but to natural erosion of underwater rock that previously had protected the ice sheet from warmer seawater. A battery-powered robotic submarine (which consumed 5,000 D-cells) conducted surveillance of the area, and provided data for the previously undiscovered ridge. The article notes that the melting of the glacier is in contrast to an overall increase in Antarctic ice levels. The summary notes that "the glacier would have shown the same acceleration and thinning it has shown since the 1990s with or without climate change, perhaps accounting for its very rapid melting and the local contrast with the general picture of increased Antarctic sea ice.""
Link to Original Source
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The 10 largest oil spills

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DesScorp writes "Do you wonder just how bad the current oil spill in the gulf is compared to past spills? Over the years, massive amounts of oil have been spilled into the oceans, probably far more than people realize. Topping the list is the Iraqi sabotage of Kuwaiti oil resources during the first Gulf War: "Iraqi forces opened the valves of several oil tankers in order to slow the invasion of American troops. The oil slick was four inches thick and covered 4000 square miles of ocean". No spill in the waters of the US even comes close to making the top ten list, not even the current leak in the Gulf of Mexico (at least not yet). The Exxon Valdez spill doesn't even crack the top 30, coming in at #34."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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NY Times: being anti-tax is an act of vandalism

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Robert Frank takes the NYT's standards even lower. Now it seems that if you think lower taxes are better than higher taxes, well, you're some kind of vandal.

"Anti-tax zealots denounce all taxation as theft, as depriving citizens of their right to spend their hard-earned incomes as they see fit. Yet nowhere does the Constitution grant us the right not to be taxed. Nor does it grant us the right to harm others with impunity. No one is permitted to steal our cars or vandalize our homes. Why should opponents of taxation be allowed to harm us in less direct ways?"

"Be allowed"? Nice, Ill Duce. We'll take that under advisement. BTW, here's what the law actually says about issue:

"Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes." - Judge Learned Hand, Helvering v. Gregory, 69 F.2d 809, 810-11 (2d Cir. 1934)

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Lawrence Lessing, enemy of government transparency?

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  about 5 years ago

In the New Republic, copyright activist and professor Lawrence Lessig pens an essay called Against Transparency: The Perils Of Openness In Government (Warning: the essay is 11 pages of some pretty dry writing). Lessig makes the argument that while transparency in government seems like a good thing, it's not always so, and he seemingly worries that there are some things that citizens just wouldn't understand in government if given complete access to data, and that the whole process will simply make voters more cynical. That strikes me as a little lame, and more like "I don't trust voters to make decisions based on what they see".

  Sayeth Lessig:

How could anyone be against transparency? Its virtues and its utilities seem so crushingly obvious. But I have increasingly come to worry that there is an error at the core of this unquestioned goodness. We are not thinking critically enough about where and when transparency works, and where and when it may lead to confusion, or to worse. And I fear that the inevitable success of this movement--if pursued alone, without any sensitivity to the full complexity of the idea of perfect openness--will inspire not reform, but disgust. The "naked transparency movement," as I will call it here, is not going to inspire change. It will simply push any faith in our political system over the cliff.

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NYT Op-Ed calls for one-party rule

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 5 years ago

New York Times Op-Ed writer Thomas Friedman is showing his true colors. He's advocating "enlightened" one-party rule, as he tires of Republicans refusing to co-operate with Democratic initiatives. Friedman says that we currently have a "one party democracy" because of near-total GOP opposition to Democratic bills, and that perhaps an enlightened one-party autocracy with America's best interests at heart could be the answer. Friedman further thinks China is a good model of government to emulate. "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century." Friedman flatly states that "our one-party democracy is worse". Perhaps we too can look forward to things like a one-child policy and extensive Internet censorship. Friedman is the type of Liberal Jonah Goldberg was talking about when he wrote Liberal Fascism.

Further, Goldberg says that liberals like Friedman are nothing new, that we've seen this kind of liberal pining for benevolent dictatorship many times before:

"I cannot begin to tell you how this is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s. It is exactly the argument that was made in defense of Stalin and Lenin before him (it's the argument that idiotic, dictator-envying leftists make in defense of Castro and Chavez today). It was the argument made by George Bernard Shaw who yearned for a strong progressive autocracy under a Mussolini, a Hitler or a Stalin (he wasn't picky in this regard). This is the argument for an "economic dictatorship" pushed by Stuart Chase and the New Dealers. It's the dream of Herbert Croly and a great many of the Progressives."

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Is The New Republic infected with a Trojan?

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I rarely go there, but on two occasions now, I've gone to TNR.com following a story link, and an attempted AntiVirus 2008 infection begins. Lucky me that I use a Mac this time of day.

National Review doesn't have this problem.

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A poster named ScentCone...

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 6 years ago

... has really impressed me of late.

In the recent story McCain releases technology platform, one poster stood out in his responses against the usual left-libertarian grain here. He's ScentCone, and he consistently posts forcefully argued, well reasoned ripostes. Despite the left-libertarian slant here, he's usually modded pretty well because, frankly, he makes very good arguments. He's apparently a productive poster as well. I'm a little wary of adding friends here, but after his "performance", so to speak, in that story, I had to add him. Simply an outstanding guy, and a great read.

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Safari/Slashdot problems?

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Safari (on OS X Tiger, all the latest updates) seems to be dying way too much when I'm on Slashdot. It's gotten bad enough that when I report it to Apple, I put "Slashdot hates you" in the what-were-you-doing part of the crash dialogue box. I wonder if Slashdot has some funky scripts that Safari chokes on?

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So Thompson is now out...

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 6 years ago

...and I just don't know who I'm going to vote for in the GOP primaries now. I'm down to a few very bad choices. This will very much be a lesser of the evils election for me.

I have to choose between John McCain, a man who seemingly has more fondness for Democrats than for his own party on the big issues of the day (save for the war), and Mitt Romney, a man who ran and governed as a liberal in Massachusetts, and now claims to be the heir to Reagan....which means either he's had the mother of all mind changes, or that he just tells the crowd whatever it wants to hear to win the next office. Nice choice,eh?

And don't even mention Huckabee, a man more like Jimmy Carter than a Republican nominee for President.

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I'm back, though I don't know for how long

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Just out of morbid curiousity, I've returned to Slashdot after almost a year and a half. To my utter surprise (not), Slashdot is still the land of the Idiot and the home of the Troll. And the "America Sucks" people are more prominent than ever.

Oh well...I'm in a mood to give the virtual finger, so bring 'em on.

I have to say one thing...I'm surprised I don't see more Ron Paul supporters here. I figured Slashdot would be a breeding ground for them. Most here are just generally apathetic assholes that complain a lot.

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From SlashKos to SlashTroll

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Well, that's a start.

In the Nasa-cuts-budgets story, there were lots of chimpymcbushhitler comments, but all were modded down either troll or flamebait or offtopic. Which is a refreshing change from the norm. I think our complaining (by our, meaning the many right of center folks here) has gotten some attention, and perhaps an attempt is being made at some balance across the board. Or maybe the moon is just at low ebb...I don't know.

It was a nice change, in any case.

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We need to find another place to go

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Guys...it's painfully obvious that Slashdot has went from a geek site to full blown moonbat site. I was posted today that because of my subservience to Bush, when the troops came and put America behind barbed wires, I'd be safe.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's as close to clinical paranoia as you can find...and it's now the norm here.

Like Moses leaving Egypt, we need to find the Promised Land, and stat, because this site is now moonbat central. When conspiracy theories are the accepted norm, it's time to get out of Dodge, guys. Rather than just sit here and bask in the insanity (no other word describes a mindset that thinks America is truly a north korea style barbed wire dictatorship), we need to blow town and let the madmen have SlashKos to themselves.

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Burning through my Karma

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 8 years ago

As long as the editors keep encouraging flamebait troll political hit pieces, disguised at stories, then I'm going to keep responding to this tinfoil hat insanity, and thus burn through my Karma, as judging from the responses, insanity is now the norm at Slashdot, where 9/11 was a CIA-Mossad conspiracy, and Emporer Pat Robertson orders his NSA to identify all porn torrents in order to send sinners to Gitmo.

Slashdot...land of absolute madness.

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Ports Deal: Utter Hypocrisy from our fav Power Couple

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 8 years ago

The Financial Times is reporting that Bill Clinton has been working behind the scenes to help the UAE ports deal, even while Hillary has been posturing in the Senate to kill it.

Way to triangulate there, Clintons.

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The most disgusting piece of anti-war tripe ever filmed

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Tonight, as I was relaxing after work, I turned on the TV. Showtime was on, and a new Zombie flick was coming on, from Showtime's Masters Of Horror series. I thought, cool.

One hour later, I'm disgusted.

Not from the Zombies in the horror flick. Nope, the special effects were cheap and badly done. Nope, I'm disgusted because Joe Dante, the director (of Gremlins fame) used a Zombie movie as a front for the dumbest, most offensive, and blatently awful anti-war statement ever put to film.

And what's worse, Dante is about as subtle as a rock over the head. He makes it obvious that the villains are Bush, Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, and anyone that votes for Republicans. He openly states as facts that the last two elections were stolen, and that Bush "has a gift for making stupid people feel as smart as him". Only the names are changed. But Dante makes it obvious EXACTLY who he's talking about. The cover of the Blonde pundit's book is a carbon copy of the cover Time magazine did of Ann Coulter. The only thing missing here, and I mean the ONLY twisted leftist caricature is the "ann coulter is a man" thing. Everything else, from a Cindy Sheehan Clone, to stupid middle America voters, to a Jerry Falwell stand-in is there.

If you don't know the premise of the movie, dead soldiers from Iraq come back to life....what do they want?

To vote Bush out of office. Then they can rest in peace.

No, I'm not kidding you. Really. I told you sublety wasn't Dante's strong suit.

There's an incredibly offensive scene where flag draped coffins arive at Dover, and dead zombie soldiers start bursting from their coffins, covered in the American Flag. They march in the streets, speaking at Democratic political rallies, one going on tv to tell the Kerry-stand-in that "they've come back to vote for anyone that will end this evil war".

It's like someone hired Michael Moore to direct a Zombie movie. It was that bad....no, maybe even worse.

I really, really hope this gets to the troops in Iraq, that they get to see it. People like Dante seem convinced that they're on his side. I want him to find out for sure.

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Maureen Dowd whines about men...again

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 8 years ago

What is it with this harpy, anyway? She makes a career of being a feminist blade, and is first shocked when she can't land a man, and now is apparently very bitter about it.

Well, what the hell did you expect, Dowd?

Feminism has prided itself on it's attitude towards men for 40 years now, an attitude that says "I can take you or leave you, and you'd better be grateful if I deem you worthy of my time, male".

And she (and her broom-riding sisterhood) seem shocked that men, as a whole, went "fuck you...I'm going for a beer with the boys, and then I'm going to hook up with a gal that actually appreciates men, instead of an ice-beast like you". Drudge is running a contest to caption the latest PR photo Dowd has released for her book Are Men Necessary. Among the most hilarious entries, this is my favorite:

"If You Want To Keep The Beer Cold, Put It Next To My Heart."

Dowd is panicky. She's in her 50's, and headed for that dreaded 60, with no man in sight. No one will marry her. And I laugh like hell. Couldn't have happpened to a nicer frost-maiden.

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Expert speaks out against rebuilding New Orleans

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 9 years ago

The increasing chorus to NOT rebuild New Orleans is growing, and a prominent geophysicist lays out why not here. The article basically reiterates what I've been saying all along...New Orleans' geography and physical makeup render it unsuitable as a base for a city in the long run.

But should we rebuild New Orleans, 10 feet below sea level, just so it can be wiped out again? Some say we can raise and strengthen the levees to fully protect the city. Here is some unpleasant truth: The higher the defenses, the deeper the floods that will inevitably follow.

It's about damn time. Lots of people want to save NO for sentimental reasons, but folks, that city is GONE. Even if they rebuilt in its present location, so much of the city has to be bulldozed, it'll almost be brand new, except for the French Quarter.

It is time to face up to some geological realities and start a carefully planned deconstruction of New Orleans, assessing what can or needs to be preserved, or vertically raised and, if affordable, by how much. Some of New Orleans could be transformed into a "floating city" using platforms not unlike the oil platforms offshore, or, over the short term, into a city of boathouses, to allow floods to fill in the 'bowl' with fresh sediment.

.

Get 'em out, bust open the levees, and start over....elsewhere.

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Anne Rice Blames America For New Orleans (Updated)

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Anne Rice is placing the blame for the New Orleans disaster....on all other Americans:

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.

Read the rest of her charming rant here.

Hey Anne...did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the primary responsibility for things going to shit down their was....yours? I mean, you of New Orleans and Louisiana? And yes Anne, just what does America OWE to New Orleans that it doesn't owe to other cities? Eh? One of the things that has most pissed me off is the snotty sense of entitlement that the mayor, newspaper, and various people have expressed about saving NO..."But you HAVE to rebuild...we're NO...you OWE it to us".

And don't get me started on NO newspapers whining about "they say we're guilty of the crime of choosing to live here".

Well put. You are.

You chose to live there. You chose to live in a bowl below sea level surrounded by a massive lake, our largest river, and the gulf of mexico.

Oh yeah, and your city is sinking. And there's no way to stop that. Nothing the Army Corps of Engineers could do would make a difference. NO is only going to drop further below SL over time.

So Anne....should the rest of the country be responsible if you choose to live in such a situation? How much sympathy would you get if you, oh, say built your new hacienda on the side of a very active volcano?

Not much, I'd say.

Rebuild NO 100 miles up the Peninsula. Call it Newer Orleans, I don't care. But don't dare tell me that I've failed you, or anyone else for that matter. Your peeps were told to get out, and even the poorest had cars. Even they had family out of the area. Even they had access to red cross and church shelters. If you want to commend them for staying behind because they loved the uniqueness of NO, then fine, but don't blame anyone else when those people suffer because of their decision.

Update: Holy Shit, does Jim Geraghty (of National Review fame) rip Anne a new one over this, especially about NO's corrupt culture. Great read over at National Review Online: We Failed You? Try Again.

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Let New Orleans Die

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 9 years ago

We're seeing a lot of talk about rebuilding New Orleans in a few months, about spending $26 billion, and probably more, to restore it.

Are people out of their damn minds?

New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. It's a city 12 feet below sea level, surrounded by 3 massive bodies of water. During normal times, it takes massive engineering to keep New Orleans dry. And scientists, professors, and engineers have been warning us for years, nay, decades that a direct hit from a large hurricane would likely destroy the city in Biblical proportions.

Take a look at New Orleans now; they were right.

80 percent of the city is under water, and that water level is rising, folks. The Army Corps of Engineers can't stop the flooding, Lake Ponchetrain continues to pour in, the Mississippi River is rising, and it's probable that more rain is on the way. And hurricane season isn't even over.

There should be no rebuilding of New Orleans. Spend as much money and manpower as neccessary to get the survivors out, but then place navigation hazard bouys around the city, and let nature take it's course. In a few years, what's left of New Orleans will literally be washed into the Gulf of Mexico, with no trace of the city left, no proof it ever existed visible on the surface of the water. That's not an exageration. That's literally what would happen at this point. The very shallow water table in New Orleans (as shallow as 6 feet deep in some parts) is being swollen with water too; the surface topsoil and everything on it will slide right off into the Gulf given time. The irony here is that, in the effort to preserve New Orleans, the levees and damns have prevented the accumulation of silts that made New Orleans in the first place; NO is nothing but a pile of river mud built up on the Mississippi Delta over the centuries. That accumulation of dirt would have eventually put NO above sea level, as well as absorbed some of the moisture from extra water. But you can't build a city in a standing swamp, so they kept the river out. And it's sealed the city's fate.

Rebuilding NO at the current lat/long would be a criminal misuse of resources, and stupidity at that. It's tantamount to building houses on the side of an active volcano. Sooner or later, you're going to die. NO dodged the odds for too long, and now her number is up. Wanna rebuild? Do it somewhere else and call it New Orleans. But not where the city presently is. Let it die, and nature will erase all visible traces of it. It'll exist only in memory, a place where Mardi Gras and Anne Rice once called home.

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Star Wars: Lost In Translation

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 9 years ago

When I visited Hong Kong and Korea years ago, it was very apparent to me that they don't always get the real meaning of English expressions. Nothing makes that more apparent than these shots of Stars Wars Episode III, with subtitles that have been re-translated back to English from their Chinese text. Who knew R2D2 had such a potty mouth?

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American Cell Phone Companies Suck

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Cell phone companies. I hate them.

I tried to go to Alltel to have an old Alltel phone reactivated. I was informed that as of this year, Alltel will not reactivate non-gps enabled
handsets because of "Congressionaly mandated E911 rules". I found out that was a big fat lie. Other companies will let you activate non-gps phones as a backup. Nothing in the law prevents it. It's just Alltel wanting to make you buy a new phone. While Big Brother is playing a part here, it's Alltel taking advantage of a well intended law to screw their customers.

I've become disenchanted with American cell companies in general. While I'm keen to bitch about how Europeans do things, they get their cell phones right...one protocol (GSM), and a simple process for using any GSM phone at any provider...simply take out the old provider card, and pop in a new one. Done. Go back to using your old phone. I hate the way American cell companies do so many things to lock you into them.Differing protocols, hard coding handsets for company only use....now my beloved Qualcomm phone is a paperweight because no other company can use it.

Rat Bastards. *rant done*

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Is Ann Coulter right? Did Bush blink?

DesScorp DesScorp writes  |  more than 9 years ago

She has a point that stealth candidates always turn out badly for Republicans...hello, David Souter. They always heave left once in office.

So why is it ok for Democrats to pick doctranaire liberals, like Ruth Ginsberg (who never made any secret of her views on expanding Federal power and authority over a wide range of issues), but it's unnacceptable for Republicans to nominate a doctrinaire conservative?

Is this the same old same old, or has Bush/Rove once again foiled the Dems by pulling out a secret weapon that the Senate can't oppose. Do they know something about Roberts that Dems don't? The stakes are so high, because you can't fire these guys, and they'll be on the bench for decades. Coulter hates him, Andrew Sullivan likes him. That should give conservatives pause...

Discuss.

P.S. - Memorable Coulter quote....

The only way a supreme court nominee could win the approval of NARAL and Planned Parenthood would be to actually perform an abortion during his confirmation hearing, live, on camera, and preferably a partial birth one.

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