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Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

HiThere Re:No big deal (105 comments)

The problem I have with the BSDs is that they can't handle large ext4 partitions...which is where I have all my data. I'd considered switching to them (in a dual boot mode) but that limitation made it out of the question.

1 hour ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

HiThere Re:Solution (253 comments)

Well, if you revert the government to prior to the income tax amendent, you have the feds taxing the states, and the states taxing the citizenry. There are actually quite a few good arguments for this. The income tax amendment may have been a bad idea. But it's sure not straightforwards, and would require a large number of other changes in government.

One of the advantages is it would increase the power of the states relative to the federal government. I feel that the federal system has become quite imbalanced as the feds absorbed more and more powers. Another possibility is to return to the state governments appointing the senators. There were many reasons why that was deemed a poor practice, but it did help balance the power of the states against the feds.

Both of these changes would cause drastic changes in the government. I don't know whether they woud be good or not. Fast transportation and communication has acted to make a larger governmental unit seem reasonable, but it is also less responsive to the will of the citizens.

1 hour ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

HiThere Re:Or just go to a flat tax system and (253 comments)

A flat tax is inappropriate, but an linear tax (tax = rate * income - base) is probably reasonable. or even a quadratic tax (tax = rate1 * income^2 + rate2 * income - base).

For various reasons I prefer the simpler linear tax with a fairly large base, so that people living on minimum wage would actually get a small amount back. The tricky part is defining income...it's got to include ALL sources of income, including long term capital gain, but you don't want to discourage investments. However, that should be done OUTSIDE THE TAX SYSTEM. Keep the tax system as simple as possible.

1 hour ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

HiThere Re:Did you find that hard drive yet? (253 comments)

I have a trouble with the word "they". I grant that certain individuals violated laws and should be prosecuted. I deny that an organization is a self-willed entity. (I also don't believe that corporations are people.)

So. People at the IRS violated laws is a reasonable statement. The IRS violated the law is nonsensical. (Note also that the second form also turns some particular laws into a general generic "the law". Another piece of fallacious reasoning...and an increasingly common usage.)

1 hour ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

HiThere Re:In lost the will to live ... (738 comments)

Depends entierly on the atheist. Some start from a Buddhist background. In fact, so ARE Buddhists. (My main problem with Buddhism is that all the arguments are phrased in terms of inevitable reincarnation of something...Buddha was a bit opaque about just what, so I'm not certain that I can't believe it, but I'm sure not certain that I can.)

My personal problem has to do with the nature of the evidence, and the unreliability of even disinterested eye-witness testimony. The only gods I'm certain of are those that I've encountered (I *think* they're the same things that others have called gods), and they appear to be mental phenomena. (I'd say psychic, but that term has been so misused that it would be even more likely to be misunderstood.) They appear to be sub-linguistic mental phenomena that are probably the same things that Jung called archetypes. The roots from which all mental functioning is buit. These features seem to be shared by many (all?) people, though it's hard to be sure, and some of them even seem to be shared with other mammals. (Well, dogs to be specific. I don't understand cats well enough to comment about them, and the evidence is quite weak even for dogs...being more along the lies of "consistent with the theory" than "experimental proof", but then that's true even for other people.)

Also, your attribution of certain beliefs as originating with Christianity is highly suspect. Many Christian practices and beliefs came from Mithraism. Others from Judism. And Others from Hellenistic Greek philosophy. Just how much originated with Christianity is extremely dubious if, in fact, anything did except a bit of clever phrasing and some political tactics. Certainly the equality of people before the gods was neither unique with Christianity, nor universally held by Christians. (See, for one example, "The Divine Right of Kings". It was also held in many times and [Christian] places that the more powerful were more loved by god. The Puritans, e.g, made it explicit. "Material success the the manifest sign of divine favor." That's not an exact qoute, as far as I know, but it could be.)

yesterday
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Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

HiThere Re:This can only work a little bit... (238 comments)

But given that this appears to be a long-standing and profitable business prractice, what effect would you expect giving them a negative rating to have?

yesterday
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Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

HiThere Re:Yelp is an example of free-market failure (238 comments)

Please justify that statement. It seems to me that in a truly free market you would even be free to murder the competition. That's the way it works in the closest thing to a free market that exists....the black market.

yesterday
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Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

HiThere Re:Yelp is an example of free-market failure (238 comments)

Didn't the summary say this behavior had been legitimized by the courts?

But perhaps another court would decide differently. Perhaps you could take them to small claims court...but how would you get them to pay up if you won?

yesterday
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Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

HiThere Re:kill -1 (458 comments)

That's, to me, a new example of the problems with systemd.

So far the only one that's sounded serious is the "won't fix" reply to a report of logfile corruption. But there have been a humongous number of complaints about different small problems.

To me systemd sounds like a bad idea. I don't really know. The problem appears that it's going to be hard to avoid, and with so many small problems, it's quite likely that there are some serious one.

A question in my mind is "What problem does it fix?" The only answer I've heard is that you can boot faster. This doesn't impress me, as I rarely boot my computer, and when I do I often want many of the steps to happen slowly enough that I can tell what is going on.

My suspicion is that systemd is a very bad direction to go. I'm remembering that mono was also sponsered by Red Hat. And even if I grant the best of intentions, big chunks of code tend to break more often and be harder to fix.

2 days ago
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

HiThere Re: So everything is protected by a 4 digit passco (504 comments)

My interpretation is fully deterministic in the same sense that their was. Probabilistic is meant in the "sum over histories" sense that multiple histories yield the same present, so you can't reasonably pick just one and say "That's what came earlier", but you instead have a spread of probabilities of linkage. I interpret that probability as the strength (weight) of the link. From each past the probabilities to all the futures it links to sum to 1. Similarly from each present the probabilities of all the pasts it links to sum to 1.

The difference between out models is that EWG, at least in the presentation that I read, only considered forwards (toward the future) links. I see no reason to believe that this is a correct interpretation. (I'm not sure about chronology, but I believe the EWG model was created prior to Feynman's Sum over Histories approach being derived. This difference is probably the result of that.)

2 days ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

HiThere Re:Everyday KDE user; completely agree! (184 comments)

Baloo, at least, needs to be sufficiently visible that you can turn it off. It eats up an incredible amount of CPU time to, for me, no benefit. KWallet has it's points, but it's not THAT great. In my use case sticky-notes would be quite reasonable for passwords. Just don't make them accessible over the net (i.e., to other programs running on the same machine). I'm not worried about shoulder surfers. As for Akonadi...I had no idea what it was until I just now looked at the web page, and I still don't know if it is of *ANY* value to me. But if it doesn't take up CPU time when I'm not using it, I guess it doesn't do much harm.

OTOH, I find Gnome3 unusable. Gnome2 was decent...I preferred it to KDE4, but then I preferred KDE3 to Gnome2. xfce would be a good system, but when I tried it, it got confused about which window was on top of which (more specifically, windows tended to get stuck under the menubar at the top of the screen). It's usable, but with several misfeatures, so currently I'm using KDE4. I'm also wondering about razorQT, but I don't want my window manager to be flakey, and the last I heard razorQT was in very late alpha. I've also heard about LXQT recently. Don't know what it's status is, but it isn't in the system repository, and this makes me dubious.

3 days ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

HiThere Re:WTF? (184 comments)

There were (and are) people who like MSWind. Agreed.

MSWind became dominant because the people who made the purchasing decisions trusted IBM. Not because people who used the computers liked it. Most of them didn't. Now most of them do, because they've become habituated, and the thought of putting in that much effort again terrifies them.

If you want to pick a company that became dominant because people liked it, pick Apple. I, personally, don't use or want to use Apple, but those who do use it like it. (When I used it, I liked it...but they made a change in the EULA that I found unacceptable. Now I no longer know it, though I don't actively dislike it the way I do MSWind.)

3 days ago
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Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem

HiThere Re:Then it happens less in science than in general (458 comments)

IIUC, this is not a survey of the *level* of sexual assault, but of the rate. And if the sample questions quoted above are typical, then I'm surprised that it isn't higher.

OTOH, the questions that were listed above (in the discussion about poorly worded questions) don't distinguish between a bit of uncomfortable humor and forcible rape. One presumes that actual criminal activity is rare, but this isn't evidence of that.

That said, in groups that are predominantly male and relatively isolated from external contact, one might expect that undesireably agressive sexual behavior would be relatively common. The real question to me is how moderate is the degree of undesireably agressive sexual behavior. (The rate would be interested *IF* coupled with the degree.)

4 days ago
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Apple's "Warrant Canary" Has Died

HiThere Re:There is no "almost impossible" (232 comments)

I believe that there are theoretical designs for computers (using reversible computation) that can compute without using any energy in computation. What I'm not sure about is that there's anyway to retrieve the results of the computation. (I've also got no idea of the speed of the computation. It might depend on random motions for all I can remember.)

Whatever, that's merely a theoretical quibble about your point. But then your point itself was a theoretical quibble.

The real weakness of 256 bit keys is poor implementation (of something). And you can't know that everything is properly implemented.

4 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

HiThere Re:This is so 2012. (104 comments)

Weeel....sort of. Depends on what you mean. I looked at a lot of (well, several) computers before the Apple ][ was released. They were all interesting, but not quite interesting enough. Then the Apple ][+ was released with a Pascal card, and I bought it. A lot of other people made about the same choice at about the same time. That was when the PC bacame notable. A few years later IBM released the IBM PC with no significant advantage over the current Apple product...but that was when it boomed.

This is sort of like Apple releasing the Apple ][. Not the ][+. OTOH, Dremel is a much bigger name now than Apple was then. Perhaps that will be a big enough kick...but my expectation is that there will turn out to be the need for much fine-tuning of the design. Then Dremel will release a greatly improved model. And then someone who's the darling of a business segment will release a different, probably incompatible, model with some useful differences, and many user drawbacks...but it will sell into businesses, and Dremel will be edged out of the market...though not completely, and they may continue to dominate among home users and certain niche segments.
But THAT will be the boom.

Makerbot, etc. is just like the S-100 computers that predated Apple.

N.B.: This is all reasoning from analogy, and therefore not to be trusted. But it's still a good guess.

4 days ago
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

HiThere Re: So everything is protected by a 4 digit passco (504 comments)

You're assuming that the universe is deterministic, or at least that the past is. I don't believe that to be correct. I believe the past to be as probabilistic as the future. Granted, it's probably that every backwards simulation will end up at the big bang, but in between now and then it's an uncollapsed wave function.

OTOH, I also believe in the Everett-Graham-Wheeler interpretation of quantum mechanics...but not in quite the same way that they did, as I'm considering branching to be essentially symmetric between the past and the future, so that not only does the present lead to multiple futures, but there are multiple presents connected to multiple pasts in a probabilistically branching net in both directions. Each present has multiple pasts, and each past has multiple presents (futures?). In a connected lattice that (perhaps) teminates in one single instant in the past where all the lattice links join (called the big bang) and less probably terminates in on single instant in the future where all lattice links join (called the big crunch). The big crunch, however, doesn't seem to be extremely plausible at the moment, given current knowledge and theories. And neither join is required by the theory.

FWIW, as far as I can tell this model is consistent with everything known about physics, but I'm neither a cosmologist nor a quantum mechanic.

5 days ago
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A Beginner's Guide To Programming With Swift

HiThere Re:Embracing the bird (72 comments)

Now that's just not true. Brainfuck is worse than PHP. So, for that matter, is whitespace.

5 days ago
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An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

HiThere Re:Thunderbird too (111 comments)

Yeah, but are they ever going to fix the filters they broke with one of those updates? Doesn't appear so. If there were a decent and maintained email program I'd switch to it immediately. Unfortunately the others all seem worse...so far...until they break more stuff and decline to fix it.

5 days ago
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An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

HiThere Re:Blame C++ (111 comments)

The question is, what language would they write good code in?

FWIW, C++ has many features that are strong improvements over C. Class encapsulation, e.g. OTOH, it's also full of things that are only worthwhile if you are really interested in run-time optimization. Or maybe they serve some other function that I don't understand. Like the STL. Most of the code in the STL would be far better implemented as libraries, even if it might not be quite as fast. I also strongly dislike their implementation of iterators. Python, Ruby, D, hell, even Java, have much better designs for their iterators. I'd include Vala and C but I'm not sure that just iterating through a loop counts. (I know that in C++ you can iterate through an array just like in C, but Strings are a different case...and so it anything else that C++ calls an iterator.) Even Objective C is a better language than C++, but it has the major problem that nearly all the documentation and development is tied to the Apple version, and I'm not interested in accepting their EULA.

If Vala weren't so tied to GTK, and if it would ever get out of beta, then I'd consider it one of the best languages around. Pity about those two problems.

N.B.: despite the way I may have phrased things a few times, I'm well aware that my opinions are not universal, and also that different use cases result in different choices. So this is just my point of view. But I seriously consider Ada more often than I seriously consider C++.

5 days ago

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