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Comments

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Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site

Greyfox It's Not Really Oracle (150 comments)

It's that people think they can drop Oracle on top of a crappy design and that will somehow magically fix it. By the time people get done trying to use brute force, ignorance and massive amounts of IT resources, you may as well have Dbase III on your back end. Oracle might let you get away with a shitty design if your application didn't really need a database, but it's not going to help you that much if what you're trying to do is complicated enough to need one.

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

Greyfox Private Aviation is Surprisingly Approachable (269 comments)

Since I started skydiving and hanging out at the grill down at the airport, I've been surprised at how approachable private aviation is. If I wanted another 5 digit hobby, I could wander in to the office at the local airport and start pilot lessons immediately. As it stands,a jump ticket only sets me back about $25. The trip's only one way, but if you're sitting next to the door in the summer time, it's a hell of a view -- they open it at 2000 feet to cool the plane off and close it again at 8000 feet when it starts getting kind of chilly. I was the first out the door for night jumps last July and looking out the open door of the plane on the ride to altitude was one of the more amazing things I've ever got to do in my life.

about two weeks ago
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Why Are We Made of Matter?

Greyfox Re:Only two possible outcomes (392 comments)

So you're saying intelligent life is more likely to exist in a void?

about two weeks ago
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

Greyfox It Wasn't That... (1037 comments)

I'm pretty sure it was "Catholic School" that's to blame for my atheism. Every time I meet an atheist (you know, down at the Church of Atheism) it's always the same story -- they spent some number of years in a Catholic School. Sometimes it's a little, sometimes it's a lot, but there's always some there. Sure this is anecdotal, but it's common enough that someone could probably get a research paper out of it.

about two weeks ago
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New US Atomic Clock Goes Live

Greyfox Wise Man Says (127 comments)

Man with one atomic clock knows what time it is, man with two isn't sure.

about two weeks ago
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Continued Rise In Autism Diagnoses Puzzles Researchers, Galvanizes Advocates

Greyfox Maybe (558 comments)

Everyone's autistic to some degree, and no one bothered to check before.

about three weeks ago
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Ultima Online Devs Building Player-Run MMORPG

Greyfox Re:So, DayZ? (75 comments)

Or maybe Rust but with magic. What Rust seems to have is a bunch-of-new-players without pants running around bashing each others' skulls in with rocks kind of vibe. Now that I think about it, the new players on UO used to be similarly feral.

about three weeks ago
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Ultima Online Devs Building Player-Run MMORPG

Greyfox Re:well that was new... (75 comments)

UO very much resembled a MUD. It was also a pretty awesome game until EA took it over and turned it into a WOW-style gear grind and started screwing with the skill balance. It was really the last MMO I've run across where player-crafted gear was the best gear in the game. Even in Eve Online, the best modules drop from rare spawns in low-security space, and although players can now research Tech 2 blueprints, the cartels that control the never-ending ones that were given out in the first couple years of the game have such a price advantage that crafting isn't all that satisfying in the game. At least not to me.

I used to make pretty decent coin in UO selling scrolls, spellbooks and location runes. That and making portals for people. The introduction of the later crap -- PvE-only areas, item insurance that would allow you to bind your best items to you and gear that would affect your stats, all made the game significantly less fun. Not to mention the constant tinkering that was required to try to keep the game balanced in the face of all these changes, so that all the players wouldn't quit in droves. Which they pretty much did anyway.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Promises Not To Snoop Through Email

Greyfox Re:I can't believe this was modded up. (144 comments)

1) Encrypt it with the recipient's public key. You know, exactly how encryption always works. If you're writing a client with encryption support, it wouldn't be that hard to hold the public keys on the server and note when they change. Hell, you could just make a space for it on a contact's list. For someone expecting a man in the middle attack, making other arrangements to get a public key ought not to be difficult. The client would just have to copy his private key to all the devices he expects to use the encryption on.

2) I would fucking love for spammers to have to encrypt each message to each person on the list they're trying to send to. You want a spam filter, set your filter to reject unencrypted mail. Boom. Done. Even if they can automate the process, the additional computing and time requirement of encrypting each message to each person's key would substantially raise the cost of sending spam and lower the number of people a spammer could hit in a specific period of time. Since the encryption would (have to) happen the client machine, sending a substantial number of messages would require far more horsepower than just blasting a mail off to a list would.

about three weeks ago
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Toward Better Programming

Greyfox After Decades of Wondering What's Wrong (391 comments)

After decades of wondering what's wrong with programming, did you ever stop to think that perhaps the problem... is you? If you don't like programming, why do you do it? I'm a programmer too, and I love it. I love making a thing and turning it on and watching it work as I designed it to. While other programmers wring their hands and wish they had a solution to a problem, I'll just fucking write the solution. I don't understand why they don't. They know the machine can perform the task they need and they know how to make the machine do things, but it never seems to occur to them to put those two things together. And I never, not even ONCE, asked why a playing card representation can't just look like a playing card. This despite having written a couple of playing card libraries.

This guy seems to want an objects actions to be more apparent just from looking at the object, but he chose two rather bad examples. His math formula is as likely to look like gobbledygook to a non-math person as the program is. And the playing card has a fundamental set of rules associated with it that you still have to learn. You look at an ace of spades and you know that's an ace of spades, you know how it ranks in a poker hand, that it can normally be high or low (11 or 1) in blackjack or in a poker hand. But none of these things are obvious by looking at the card. If a person who'd never played cards before looked at it, he wouldn't know anything about it, either.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Promises Not To Snoop Through Email

Greyfox That's Nice (144 comments)

How about they build an encryption API right into their service? Encrypt the message locally before it ever goes to the network. Oh, they don't want to do that. I see. So Microsoft promises to not read your mail, while retaining the ability to easily do so whenever it's convenient for them. That makes me feel so much better.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Greyfox That's Odd (455 comments)

I'm not a huge Walmart fan, but I'm a bit surprised they don't just bring their own card to the market, then. They wouldn't even have to be terribly competitive, just anally rape you just a little less than the other credit card companies. The money they'd save on transaction fees in their own stores alone would probably more than cover the cost of the venture.

about three weeks ago
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Anti-Game-Violence Legislator Arrested, Faces Gun Trafficking Charges

Greyfox Re:What party was that again... (234 comments)

It really doesn't make a difference in this case. He's from California. You just kind of assume he's a Democrat, or maybe something further left.

That rule is reversed on any of Murdoch's media.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Greyfox Re:Linux kernel (373 comments)

Ooh, I like this list! My usual MO is to (try to) write reusable libraries for most of my project and glue the library code together with a main program that does as little extra processing as possible on the library objects. If I'm writing a library, I like to add the extra criteria that it to be easy for a programmer to pick up and use. The actual library code can be absolutely hideous but if it gets the job done and the interface is easy to use I'm not going to complain about it.

I've been coding for the fun of it again in my spare time, and have a fair bit of code up on GitHub now. I've only been seriously using C++ for the last couple of years, and you can see a bit of a progression from my early code (fr_demo) to more recent code like the data library and resumetron. Stuff like cppxml which I use frequently gets updated more often than the old demo code.

I particularly like my factories. I have a relative going through a CS program right now and he's had some questions on a couple of his assignments and got a look at a piece of code with data readers provided by his professors. They always look like C code that was written 15 years ago. I know this because I also very recently was digging through some C code that was written 15 years ago. I like to think they're doing that on purpose, but they're not. So his introduction to design patterns could have been a nice clean data factory that requires three lines of code to write, but instead it's the singleton pattern, which every design review board on the planet will now reject immediately after the word leaves your mouth, whether it's actually justifiable or not.

One of these days real soon now I'm going to need to go back and replace all my std::string throws with std::logic_errors or other appropriate std::exception errors, and I'm kicking around the idea of building up a simple rest server around my old socket server code one of these days. That sounds like fun to me!

about three weeks ago
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I prefer my peppers ...

Greyfox Extremely Spicy (285 comments)

My go-to pepper of choice are those little thai "laser" peppers, preferably grown myself. Picked right off the plant they have a lot of flavor and weigh in somewhere between 30000 and 50000 IIRC. Anything much lower than that is below my pain threshold. Anyone notice the rise of what I like to call the "death jalepino"? Every so often you'll get a jalepino that's hotter than any habenero I've ever tried. I got one a while back while making chili and when I cut into it, I and a couple other people in the room started coughing uncontrollably. Most of the time, jalepinos taste like bell peppers to me, but these ones are different. I don't know if someone's selectively breeding the things for heat or what's going on there, but it's something to keep an eye out for (next time I get one I'm going to have to save the seeds and see if I can grow some plants.)

about three weeks ago
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Goodyear's New State-of-the-Art Airship Makes Its First Flight

Greyfox Ooh (66 comments)

I'd sell my granny for a chance to do a skydive out of that thing.

about a month ago
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Final Fantasy XIV Failed Due To Overly Detailed Flowerpots

Greyfox With The Series In General (195 comments)

I find the prettier the graphics get, the less I seem to like their characters. If I hate the characters, I'm not going to get into the game enough to finish it. And I'm not going to drop $60 sight-unseen from a studio whose characters I typically hate. I've gotten to the point where I pretty much just ignore new game announcements from them, and that consider that to be an indicator of pretty bad health for the studio. They very much need to put some effort into making sure their games are actually fun and that people will give two shits about the characters in them. That's how you make an epic game, even with PS1 graphics.

about a month ago
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The Net Routes Around Censorship In Turkey

Greyfox Re:What a fool. (82 comments)

Yeah! Like some sort of... turkey!

about a month ago

Submissions

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Poll: Preferred Method of Shuffling Off This Mortal Coil?

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Greyfox writes "1) Autoerotic asphyxiation "accident".
2) Old age.
3) Immediately after yelling "Hey Skeeter! Hold my beer and watch this!"
4) On the toilet.
5) Other (describe below.)"
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Harold Camping: World to End Friday

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Greyfox (87712) writes "Oh noes! Harold Camping says the world is going to end Friday! And I'm all out of Kool Aid from the last one! Guy's got to give us more warning! Ok! You guys know the drill! Give away your worldly belongings and get ready to be whisked away to Heaven! Unless you're a heathen, then you can just go about your business!"
Link to Original Source
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Detergent Phospate Ban Leads to Dirtier Dishes

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Greyfox (87712) writes "A couple months ago I moved into a new house, and almost immediately noticed that the dishwasher was not working as well as the one in my last place. I thought I might have to replace it, but it turns out that the problem is a quiet phosphate ban for dishwasher detergent in 17 states. Rather than mix two formulas, the detergent manufacturers just switched over to phosphate-free detergent for everyone. No phosphates for you! The lady in the story mixes her own detergent now, but I'm finding that a quarter cup of vinegar every now and then seems to do the trick. Glad I didn't replace that washer."
Link to Original Source
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USA Authorizes Killing of US Citizen in Yemen

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  about 4 years ago

Greyfox (87712) writes "According to this bit at the ACLU (Among other places,) the Obama administration has authorized the killing of Anwar al-Alwaki, a Muslim cleric who has allegedly been up to all sorts of shenanigans. The ACLU glosses over those shenanigans and waves their hands vaguely, but they do raise an important question, exactly how many and what sorts of shenanigans must you be up to before someone puts you on a list of people who should be killed?"
Link to Original Source
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The Environmental Impact of Printing an Email?

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  about 5 years ago

Greyfox (87712) writes "Lately I've been seeing the obnoxiously smug "Please consider the environmental impact before printing this Email" in the signature of a number of people who send me email far too regularly. This really makes me want to print their email, cut out the signature, and start making a "Please consider the environmental impact before printing this Email" rug out of signatures and tape. But it got me wondering, what exactly IS the environmental impact of printing their email? And what is the environmental impact of their sending me their generally useless trivia at all? I googled around a bit but couldn't find anything useful. Could someone point me to a study on this?"
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Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Greyfox writes "According to This CNN Story, a new "Hitman" scam is circulating around the Internet. In a nutshell the scammer says that the person being email has a contract on his life but offers to spare him if he pays the scammer a large sum of money. Investigations are difficult because most of the scammers are believed to be in a different country."
Link to Original Source
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Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  about 7 years ago

Greyfox writes "According to the metro news, a student in North Carolina has been suspended for his religious beliefs. Those beliefs? That global warming is caused by the decline in the number of pirates and therefore followers of the religion should wear full 'full pirate regalia' to combat global warming. The school insists that the student's suspension had 'nothing to do with religion and everything to do with his refusal to heed warnings about wearing pirate costumes to school.' But isn't that like saying that suspending a student for praying at lunch had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with praying at lunch?

I'm sure this is just another case of the Administration attempting to suppress global warming-related speech!"
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Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Greyfox (87712) writes "According to this Macworld article, EVE Online is to be ported to Intel OSX. CCP will be using Transgaming technology to make it happen and the game will have full parity with the PC version when released."
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Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Greyfox (87712) writes "A few years back I tried to sell my manager at IBM on the idea of sending me to the Linux Beer Walk on the company dime. Well he wasn't particularly keen on the idea for some reason but I'm working at a new company now and am set to try again! However... there doesn't seem to be a Linux Beer Walk that I can pitch anymore! Whatever happened to that event and will there ever be another?"
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Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Greyfox writes "Our good buddy, Ted Stevens has introduced S. 2686: Communications, Consumer's Choice and Broadband Deployment act of 2006. I haven't yet read the entire text of the bill but the summary makes it sound surprisingly clueful from "The Internet is not a dump truck" guy. There's probably some nastiness hidden in the bill text though. Notably, it looks like the bill could make your ISP have to pay into the universal service fund, it seems it will probably give the FCC the authority to mandate that hardware implement and respect the copyright protection flag and there's the usual stuff about preventing child pornography."
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Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Greyfox writes "Hey, remember that woman who certified the Florida results in the 2000 election, thus comitting our nation to 8 years of being run by a retarded monkey? Well she's back and up to her usual shennanigans, winning a nomination to run as the Republican canidate for a Senate seat in Florida. Ms. Harris leads Tom DeLay and Scarface Al Capone by a narrow margin in terms of popularity and GOP leadership is concerned that her presence in the election will motivate a large turn out of Democrats for this ultra-important mid-term election. The GOP went so far as to withdraw backing of Ms. Harris in this election, which she responded to by ponying up $10 Million of her own money to run her campaign. She still won handily, possibly due to high amounts of toxic mercury in the Florida water supply, possibly due to the fact that the Republican party could only mobilize a chimpanzee against her in this primary. And the chimp only got 42% of the vote.

Ms. Harris goes on to face Democrat Bill Nelson in the election, which she is expected to win by a margin of 2000 or so. Pat Buchanin is expected to take about 2300 votes in the election. Ms. Harris is also expected to fire four entire groups of campaign staffers between now and the election in an attempt to get rid of the Democratic spies in her campaign. Toxic mercury and all that.

If I may take a moment to deviate from my usual balanced and fair reporting of the news to briefly voice my personal opinion, if Ms. Harris wins the general election I will personally feel compelled to drive to the home of every Democrat in the state and put my foot up the ass of any of them that didn't actually turn out to vote in the election. Fair warning."

Journals

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How To Jump Out of An Airplane

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  about a year and a half ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QgG4hwKbH4 Pretty much like that.

http://youtu.be/ZHdsUICa7zY Eeh, not the best exit but in my defense it was the first one where I've been "on my own" at the exit. All previous times, someone's been holding on to me.

The second video is my 10th jump. I'm running out of levels to fail, though! I'm much rather take it slow and be sure I have it right than rush through the program.

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Jmeter Does Not Have Access to Environment Variables?

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Maybe not, but if you "set > workspace/job.properties" and pass your Job Path in to jmeter as a property, you can read the damn things back out with a beanshell sampler later on. Handy for grabbing variables from your Hudson parameterized build. Just don't forget to define JobPath as ${__P(JobPath,)} in your user defined variables.

import java.io.BufferedReader;

String response = "";

try {
      BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new FileReader("${JobPath}/workspace/job.properties"));
      String nextLine = in.readLine();
      while(null != nextLine) {
              String[] keyval = nextLine.split("=");
              if (2 == keyval.length) {
                    vars.put(keyval[0],${__eval(keyval[1])});
              }
              response = response + nextLine + "\n";
              nextLine = in.readLine();
        }
} catch (java.io.FileNotFoundException e) {
        response = "Unable to locate properties file for environment; using defaults.";
}

SampleResult.setResponseData(response);

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Emacs ruby-mode font locking

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 3 years ago

If you want ruby mode to do syntax highlighting, make sure to have (global-font-lock-mode 1) before you load the ruby mode library. This will save much misery.

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Obama Needs to Bring Chicago to DC

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Invite the top Democrats in for a spaghetti dinner and give them (verbatim) the Al Capone teamwork speech from "The Untouchables." Baseball bat at all. You know the guy he stops at when he gets to the end will feel pretty damn uncomfortable...

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My Regime

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 4 years ago In a number of posts I've talked about my regime. When I become Dictator for Life (through an open election process) things will be run a bit differently. I thought I should get this all down in one place so that people will not be confused about my regime's stances on various topics.

My regime would bring back impaling. It worked for Vlad the Impaler -- in the height of his reign you could leave a bag of gold on the street and no one would touch it. They were afraid of being impaled. I'd get rid of most victimless crimes, and would need to work out for the rest of them where exactly the impaling would start. Drunk driving, I think, would be an impalable offense. Murder and rape, definitely impaling there. Monetary fraud etc... impaling... Needless to say the prison population in my regime would be a LOT smaller.

My regime would require mandatory reversible sterilization of all citizens at puberty and a license in order to reverse it for breeding. After all, currently you need a license to buy a car or a gun but any jackass who can figure out how to stick a penis in a vagina can make a baby with no government regulation. Needless to say, breeding license applicants would need to demonstrate financial stability and a degree of minimal competence for parental obligations.

If you're not breeding, gay marriage will not only be legal, it will be mandatory. This will encourage people to be competent enough to pass the breeding license exam and everyone else will be happy with it. Or else...

My regime would mandate samurai honor code for corporate officers and public officials. Bring dishonor to your office via fraud, ineptitude or corruption and you will be allowed to kill yourself, or you'll be impaled. The events of the past few years make it painfully clear that this is necessary.

My regime would ban organized religion except for the state-sponsored one, which would involve Smurfs. Non-smurfy behavior will be punishable by impaling. Heresy will be punishable by feeding the offending people to Garganel.

Oh yes and my regime will have public health care. My regime would not tolerate insurance companies feeding on the corpses of my citizens, no. My regime puts its citizens first and will work to insure their well-being. Any other attitude would be completely non-Smurfy.

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Trend in the IT Industry

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 4 years ago I was just talking to a fellow I worked with a couple years back. He was (somewhat) forcibly retired from the company he worked for after 35 years of service to them. It wasn't a performance issue, rather he was "retirable" and the company was downsizing. They lost a lot of very specialized knowledge when they got rid of him, from a project that was a pretty big component of their sales process a few years ago.

There's a trend in the industry to treat employees as hot-pluggable resources. One person is viewed as just as good as another with no consideration of experience or ability. If you can get rid of one person and load twice the amount of work on someone else in his team (And let THEM figure out how to complete it all on time) that does fine.

This makes the industry a shitty place to work, drives the more experienced people out of the market and encourages the 90s style job-hopping that let a lot of people with no business in the industry inflate their salaries to outrageous levels without actually doing any work. I've had to clean up after a few of those people.

It takes a while to learn a job and the business practices and processes of the company you're working for. From what I've seen, most people need three to six months to get comfortable in the environment and learn their way around a code base if they're programming. After that the productivity goes up dramatically. The current practices of the industry makes for a lot of turn-over before you hit that point and views someone with years of experience in that position as being easily replaced by a fresh college graduate. This, in my view, is a mistake.

So what to do about this? I think eventually the market might sort this out. If it's a bad thing, I think that any company that comes along with different attitudes could end up out-producing and out-maneuvering its more clueless competition.

If anyone works for such an enlightened company I'd love to hear your views on the subject. And... um... are you guys hiring?

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Greyfox's Solution to The Health Care Issue

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 4 years ago New Law: No member of the legislative, judicial or executive branches of the US government may enjoy any federally funded health care plan that better in any way than the plan of the lest privileged United States citizen.

That ought to sort things out pretty quickly.

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Oh For Fuck's Sake

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 5 years ago Just arm Franken and Coleman with bricks and lock them in a room. The one that emerges should get the senate seat.

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Worst President Ever

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 5 years ago I really wish Nixon had lived to see this administration. I think he died feeling really bad and thinking he'd be remembered as the worst president ever, and after this he could say "Well... you know... I may have been bad but at least I wasn't that guy!"

To be fair to the Bush administration, they were left holding the bag that was started in the 80's when the Reagan administration started deregulating everything. And to be fair, the Clinton administration continued that trend. And hey, imagine our surprise when, realizing that they were no longer accountable to "laws," companies victimized the American people. Had Congress noticed, in the past two decades that lenders were coming up with new and elaborate schemes to treat the American people as their personal piggy banks, perhaps the trend could have been reversed. They were too busy whoring out the law to the highest bidder. More than enough blame to go around, here.

Meanwhile, when corporations couldn't meet their unrealistic growth goals to keep their stock prices propped up, they had to resort to their own shenanigans. Even after we noticed that, we didn't do much about it. That would have required evil regulation. God forbid we have that, we much prefer the current system where companies regularly sacrifice their own employees to the god of the almighty profit.

No the Bush administration is simply the poo cherry on a giant turd sandwich that has been years in the making. Had things gone just slightly differently they would only be remembered as a mildly ineffective and inept administration. But as they say, the buck stops at the top no matter how much you might try to point the finger of blame elsewhere. You can say "But... it wasn't my fault!" That's OK. We'll blame you anyway. Nixon would be happy to know that he'll go down in history as the second worst president ever.

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Who Gets Pardoned Before W Leaves Office?

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 5 years ago Hey everyone! Write down your predictions for who Bush pardons before he leaves office!

I think the first guy on the list is Ted "Series of Tubes" Stephens.

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Who the Fuck is Cerberus and Why Should You Care?

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 5 years ago http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus_Capital_Management

Bush cronie John Snow and Chrysler? No matter how much bleach we apply to this administration's taint-stain of failure and ineptitude, I don't think we're ever going to get it clean.

Question is, does Bush bail out the auto-industry because he gives a damn about all those workers who are going to lose their jobs, or to help his former cronie recoup his losses and jettison the company?

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On The Erection Of Imaginary Structures

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 5 years ago I was listening to NPR on the way in to work today and they were talking about how justice in Afghanistan is still largely handled through tribal councils rather than the shiny new judicial system that we've put in place over there. That got me thinking about how difficult it is to erect an imaginary structure. A judicial system is an imaginary structure that people agree to respect. If the system is overly flawed, ineffective or even if people are just not comfortable with it, its chances of survival are low.

The judicial system in Afghanistan probably closely resembles ours back when the country first started out. We've had a couple hundred years to tweak our system and adapt it to our needs. The problem in the case of Afghanistan is that a parallel structure exists which people are more comfortable with, and so people continue to prefer the tribal councils over the one we've put in places. If the judicial system we put in place is to survive, it will most likely need to integrate the tribal councils in to its functioning in some way. If people are willing to use it then it can improve to meet the specific needs of the Afghan population. We should not be surprised if their judicial system ends up looking nothing like ours.

Countries are not the only places that have imaginary structures, though. I've worked for a lot of different companies over the years, and they all have their own way of doing things. The internal processes and procedures of a large company also comprise an imaginary structure. A structure which is nearly impossible to change. Most people don't look at the structure as a whole and instead prefer to keep their heads down to stay focused on their own job. I think that companies that encourage this behavior miss out on a lot of productivity that could be obtained from people actually working together. They often call this understanding the big picture.

Unfortunately the big picture is remarkably complex. What we need is a way to break this picture down in to understandable chucks which we can look at individually. Those chunks could be then used to build the big picture. Or perhaps just "a" big picture, after all a company is also just a bite-sized chunk of the big picture that is our society. In that context, perhaps we could apply some of the concepts of object-oriented programming and design patterns to corporate (or international) process. After all, each team has some inputs and some outputs. What happens inside the team is not really important as long as the outputs happen in an expected time after the inputs.

If the inputs and outputs of each team in the company are documented and understood by all the team members and all the people that team interacts with, things become much more orderly. Ask any person what their job is and what is expected from them and they will actually be able to tell you. It is then up to the lead of that team to insure that the team is adequately staffed to do all the work assigned to the team.

Could this process be applied to the Afghan justice system as well as to a business process? Certainly one of the problems facing the new judicial system which we've put in place is that many Afghans do not know anything about it. Like our business process, the Afghan courts have inputs and outputs. The ultimate goal of both is produce something of value for the people involved. Broken down in an understandable fashion makes it easier to tweak any little piece of the puzzle that doesn't quite fit correctly. Both systems should be allowed to evolve toward perfection.

Now if only I could find a company that's willing to let me experiment on them with my "object-oriented business process." Or a country willing to let me experiment on them with an "Object oriented judicial system." Hmm...

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Aspiring Expectations

Greyfox Greyfox writes  |  more than 5 years ago Folks,

The charges leveled against Illinois Gov. Blagojevich could not have come at a better time for the Democratic party. Since the election of Obama there has been an unprecedented optimism about our political system. To hear people talk, the moment Obama takes office magical fairies and unicorns will fly out of his butt and fix the economy, global warming and our political system.

The accusations against Blagojevich should go a long way toward restoring American cynicism toward its political system. We are forcibly reminded that politicians are by nature corrupt and inept. This is because humans are by nature corrupt and inept. When someone is elected to office they do not shed their humanity. They and their opinions do not become any wiser or smarter than the people that elected them.

Which brings us back to Obama. The hype has taken on a life of its own. Obama is not the second coming of Christ. No magical fairies will be appearing to magically fix everything when he takes office. What Obama needs to accomplish will take a tremendous amount of work and no small amount of time.

If the hype had continued to grow, it would have resulted in a lot of disillusionment of a lot of Americans. We're not well-known for our patience or our attention span, after all. This good old fashioned corruption scandal is doing a wonderful job of shutting down the hype machine. This may actually give Obama the time he needs to demonstrate some actual results, since all the USA's problems will not be magically solved the moment he takes office.

Ultimately we need to realize that our leaders are only human, and we need to make it difficult for them to abuse their positions. We should not tolerate a culture of corruption and ineptitude when the fate of our nation is at stake. I am hopeful that Obama realizes this and will use his mandate to push real reforms to our system.

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