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Comments

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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Loki_1929 Re:Great one more fail (582 comments)

The US Constitution was an open declaration of treason against the Crown, which at the time controlled the most powerful military the world had ever seen. It was signed by farmers, lawyers, and doctors who had little in the way of protection against that army and little chance of surviving the fight. To say it was anything less than a suicide pact is absurd. The fact that few alive in this country today have their intestinal fortitude speaks volumes to why we're in decline. They had balls. Somewhere along the way, we lost them.

And if you don't think voting leads to people dying, you aren't paying attention.

yesterday
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Loki_1929 Re:Great one more fail (582 comments)

what does that tell you about the Second Amendment absolutists

As opposed to voting rights absolutists? Fifth Amendment absolutists? Rights aren't rights when you're only allowed to exercise them in a place and manner dictated by the government.

2 days ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Loki_1929 Re:Great one more fail (582 comments)

According to the CDC, defensive gun uses number about 1 - 2 million per year.

So several times more crimes prevented with guns than committed with them.

2 days ago
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Lionsgate Sues Limetorrents, Played.to, and Others Over Expendables 3 Leak

Loki_1929 Re:The DHS Is On The Case (207 comments)

No the process should be augmented by the district attorney's office who has the resources to protect the public.

Or, alternately, the resources to railroad members of the public into prison cells at the behest of politically connected corporate leaders.

No, The appropriate response is if for the government to appoint a lawyer to advocate for the parent in court. Just the same way the district attorney advocates for victims of crime.

The district attorney doesn't advocate for victims of crime. The district attorney is an advocate for the state prosecuting people accused of committing crimes. That's a critical distinction when you consider that the victims often have little or no say in whether or how the accused is charged and tried.

about a month and a half ago
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Lionsgate Sues Limetorrents, Played.to, and Others Over Expendables 3 Leak

Loki_1929 Re: The Double Standard (207 comments)

Nobody stole the movie. The studio still has it. What someone did was copy the movie without the permission of the copyright holder, thereby committing copyright infringement, which is a civil matter. Or at least it would be if our government weren't the enforcement wing of its benevolent corporate benefactors.

about a month and a half ago
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San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers

Loki_1929 Re:ADA?? (61 comments)

Yes, as I stated, if you have enough money, you can escape the NHS. I would argue that more people would get better care if they weren't being taxed so heavily to pay for the NHS, particularly if they aren't using it ("double payers"). The existence of a private system pinpoints a painful but obvious truth: that the NHS and systems like it are not the panacea of healthcare they're often hailed as being. For those who would otherwise have nothing available, systems like the NHS provide a safety net that ensures they get at least some level of care, eventually. For everyone else, it can mean long lines, denied care, and other challenges.

US health outcome numbers are skewed by a variety of factors such as gang violence, drug problems, a high rate of imprisonment, a higher percentage of rural communities where access to the latest and greatest healthcare tools isn't readily available, the fact that many low income individuals under 65 don't have regular access to medical care, overuse of defensive medicine, and a number of other things. It's the same sort of challenges you find when comparing any stats between very different countries. If you control for those differences, you'll find that some of the best care on Earth is available in the US, but it's an imperfect system.

Our system leaves some people without access to much care. The NHS leaves some people on a waiting list for years on end and drives others to head to other parts of Europe, India, Malaysia, and even the US for care. Each system has its issues; nobody has completely figured out healthcare just yet. The only way to realistically do so is to so cold and uncaring that even an economist might feel a twinge of moral concern. Nobody wants to pull the plug on grandma, and that's just step one to making a system that can provide a reasonable level of care to all. Step two is kids.

about a month and a half ago
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San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Dismantling Will Cost $4.4 Billion, Take 20 Years

Loki_1929 Re:CLEAN, SAFE, (343 comments)

NIMBY has made it all but impossible to actually construct a nuclear reactor in the US. On top of that, the ban on reprocessing fuel makes them vastly less efficient and cost effective than they would be if we had any sense.

about a month and a half ago
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San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Dismantling Will Cost $4.4 Billion, Take 20 Years

Loki_1929 Re:CLEAN, SAFE, (343 comments)

The UK has immense areas available for offshore wind.

Except they keep shutting them down because they're always finding some bird (red-throated diver being the latest) or other wildlife that might be affected by them. The ones that actually do manage to get built are often shut down temporarily due to storm activity.

about a month and a half ago
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San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers

Loki_1929 Non-technical solutions (61 comments)

This really seems like an over-hyped, massively expensive technical solution to a problem that could easily be fixed with some volunteer organizations providing guides on an as-needed basis. Here's a thought: require all public high school students to provide X number of hours (start with 200) of public service as a requirement for graduation. Do something similar with college students receiving Federal student aid. Oh look, suddenly volunteers everywhere! And these volunteers can actually adapt to the needs of individuals and don't cost a fortune to implement, update, and maintain!

about a month and a half ago
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San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers

Loki_1929 Re:ADA?? (61 comments)

In light of this understanding, it does make me wonder why your country doesn't have a National Health Service favoured by many civilized countries.

My guess is because we don't like paying vastly higher taxes, waiting in seemingly endless (up to two years for an operation during certain periods) lines for care (well, unless you're rich of course, in which case you don't bother with the public system in countries like the UK or Canada), being denied newer and better treatments because a committee decided against it (here coverage is determined by the insurance company and you can choose your insurance provider and plan based on your specific needs, such as necessary coverage for specific medications), facing a "post code lottery" where your quality of care depends on what side of an imaginary line you live on, higher heart disease mortality (36% higher in the UK over the US, which is bad considering how much we abuse our hearts over here), not being able to find a doctor or dentist at all (70% of dentists in Quebec opt out of the public system), and on and on and on.

The system we have is imperfect, but it has clear benefits over the ones in Canada and the UK. I've never waited more than a week to have anything treated and I almost always get treatment the same day or the next day for any issue I have. Of the two operations I've had, one was scheduled on my schedule - I picked the date and time to fit well with my work schedule about a week after it was determined to be necessary - and the other was on an emergency basis where my doctor met me at the hospital and had me on the operating table within about 30 minutes. Any testing I need can be done same-day. A quick glance at my doctor's availability (that office has a mobile app for scheduling appointments) shows I could have a 15 or 30 minute appointment with her tomorrow or up to 45 minutes the day after.

I'm not rich; I work for a living. Yet I don't wait for anything. I don't wait to be seen by a doctor. I don't wait to get any testing I need. I don't wait to get any procedures I need. I don't wait for medications. It all happens on my schedule and as quickly as I'd like it. I pay $15 to see the doctor and $50 if I end up in the hospital for something serious. Anything paid out of pocket gets taken care of with untaxed money, meaning it's at a huge discount to me. And it isn't just me (nor is it just about me); everyone I know who has a job has great healthcare coverage. Is it a perfect system? No. Does every single person have perfect access to outstanding care? No. But we're improving all the time and it isn't (at least as of yet) coming at everyone else's expense.

To me, it's an argument of most people getting great care versus everyone getting mediocre to poor care (see also: the VA medical system). Quite similar to the classic market system argument of capitalism versus socialism. You can either give everyone the chance to get rich (with some ending up poor and most somewhere in the middle) or ensure everyone is equally poor. If the people in the UK, Canada, France, etc are happy with their system, great! I don't begrudge their happiness. However, I don't think the benefits of moving to such systems outweigh the drawbacks in the minds of most Americans. Rather than pretend either system is perfect, I think it best to recognize that each has its pros and cons and that the priorities and sensibilities of the people in a given country drive their decisions on how to achieve the greatest good.

about a month and a half ago
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Lionsgate Sues Limetorrents, Played.to, and Others Over Expendables 3 Leak

Loki_1929 Re:The DHS Is On The Case (207 comments)

So when an artist creates something they can be copied by any big business that wants to. The individual has no recourse because the large company will just bury them in lawyers. So in effect you are saying that anyone who does not have the resources to defend their copyrights have no copyrights.

I'm saying that civil suits are the appropriate response to copyright infringement. If big companies can bury individuals with armies of lawyers such that nobody can defend themselves and their rights in court against big companies, then that's an issue with the court system; not anything specific to copyright law. If the court system is not doing its job and is effectively a place where whoever has the most money wins, that should be corrected. The process should not simply be replaced by SWAT teams.

Let's assume the same thing happens in custody cases: that whoever has the most money always wins. Is the appropriate response to then simply have government agents arbitrarily decide who should have the kid(s) and send armed agents crashing through the doors and windows of the home of the one who didn't get picked? We should have fair courts where righteousness trumps legal trickery. If we don't, that's the problem we should solve.

about a month and a half ago
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Lionsgate Sues Limetorrents, Played.to, and Others Over Expendables 3 Leak

Loki_1929 Re:The Double Standard (207 comments)

Theft: the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
Copyright infringement: the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.

A copyright owner has the right to control how their protected works are reproduced and distributed. When that right is violated, a civil suit is an appropriate response. When someone steals your car, a criminal investigation by government authorities is an appropriate response. In this case, theft of the movie would entail someone (or a group of someones) taking the only available copies from their rightful owner such that the original owner no longer had access.

It may not seem like an important distinction from where you're sitting, but it's important in that we shouldn't have SWAT teams busting down teenagers' doors because they shared a movie on the Internet.

about a month and a half ago
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Lionsgate Sues Limetorrents, Played.to, and Others Over Expendables 3 Leak

Loki_1929 Re:The DHS Is On The Case (207 comments)

Theft of intellectual property should be a criminal matter.

Copyright infringement should be a civil matter. Since This article is talking about a movie being copied and shared (copyright infringement), it should be strictly a civil matter. Of course, the government being the enforcement wing of large companies, the full weight and force of the Federal government will extend its infinite reach across the globe to annihilate anyone who so much as thinks about infringing on the absolute rights of the government's benevolent benefactors.

about a month and a half ago
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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

Loki_1929 Re:Change management fail (162 comments)

Sounds like your IT has been outsourced to India, who as a culture, literally does not know how to say "no".

It takes two to fail to communicate. You should not be asking questions that require a direct "yes or no" answer. In many cultures, that is considered rude.

So they lie because their culture tells them to and it's my fault for not identifying that they're lying and taking careful steps to help them not lie?

Sorry, but that's absurd. If one's culture does not allow one to perform one's job correctly, one needs to either find a new culture or find a new job.

about a month and a half ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Loki_1929 Re:So! The game is rigged! (570 comments)

I don't pay interest on my credit cards and they pay me cash back. I use the reward points and cash back for free vacations. I financed my last car at below the rate of inflation. Adjusted for inflation, the bank paid *me* for the privilege of buying me a car.

It isn't a scam; it's a game. And rule number 1 is understand basic mathematics.

about a month and a half ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Loki_1929 Re:So! The game is rigged! (570 comments)

I pay for everything cash, so I have a low credit score.
How the fuck does that work?

Your credit score is the calculated chances that you'll stick to the terms if credit is offered. It's based on past performance and present (credit-based) circumstances. If you have no history, they can't score you. That's how the fuck that works.

I paid for my car cash, I pay my rent cash, I pay the cable company cash.
I have over $30k in the bank and I have monthly paychecks.

None of this hits your credit report, so it can't be used to score you. Money in the bank isn't reported and isn't scored. Paychecks and income aren't reported and aren't scored.

So I should have a much higher credit rating than someone who is constantly paying with credit cards in my opinion.
I wouldn't even mind so much, except that when renting a house they do a background check, and they expect to find a credit history, which I don't have.

Someone who is paying with credit cards and is keeping those accounts paid as agreed has a demonstrated history of responsibly managing their credit. You don't have that. That's why they score higher. You seem to want a credit score that's based on some personal knowledge of you, or your handshake, or a magic 8 ball or something. But that isn't how it works because we no longer live in villages of 20 families. Various items related to how you've handled credit/debt are reported to credit reporting agencies. Other companies (okay, pretty much just FICO) have developed various scoring models that take the information reported to the CRAs and turn that information into a single, simple number which represents the chances that you'll stick to the terms of credit is offered. Since they don't have any information about you, you don't get scored.

I pay for everything with credit cards, pay them off every month so there's no interest, and then I take free vacations with the reward points and cash back money. I have a long credit history showing that whenever someone provides me credit, I manage it responsibly and pay them on time as agreed. If someone is thinking about offering me credit, they can look at that long history (or just the number) and see that I'm a pretty safe bet. They can look at someone else who has a long history of failing to pay back everyone who lends them a dime and see that person is a huge risk. They look at you and they see a mystery box. What exactly would you expect to happen?

about a month and a half ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Loki_1929 Re:You needn't charge anything (570 comments)

No need to look up how FICO works, no one actually uses FICO when considering you.

Except for credit cards, car loans, mortgages; just about anything that requires credit. But yeah, except for those things, nobody actually uses FICO.

There are many many systems to calculate a credit score and if you go apply for a loan/credit card/anything that gives you a score from 5 different places the same day you'll get 5 different credit scores and the difference has nothing to do with recent credit inquiries.

Just wrong time and time again. First of all, there aren't 5 different places. There are 3: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Secondly, there are multiple types of FICO scores and the lender chooses which type to use. Auto-enhanced FICO scores weigh vehicle loans differently, but are otherwise very similar to the consumer FICO score you can pull. Most differences between scores from different CRAs are due to differences in the credit reports themselves. Often times, accounts (in good standing or otherwise) aren't reported to all three CRAs, which means you'll have different histories and different scores with them. And yes, there are other proprietary models available, but they're hardly ever used (as in 10% of the time).

When it comes to applying for credit, FICO is still the kind of the castle precisely because it does adapt and broadly predict consumer behavior, allowing lenders to appropriately price risk.

about a month and a half ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Loki_1929 Re:You needn't charge anything (570 comments)

First off, 60% credit utilization is too high. I haven't looked up the numbers recently, but there are people out there who game the system and have figured out near optimal values.

Depends on the scoring model and your personal 'bucket', but the optimal is typically 9% total utilization for revolving accounts. Keep in mind that certain scoring models (TU98 comes to mind) want that all on one revolving account. Any more and you'll lose the small bit of bonus you get for having the balance at all. That said, the typical bump to credit score is often less than 10 points. It can be used for a temporary bump prior to seeking big credit or for bragging rights, but honestly, you're just about as well off paying everything to zero each month prior to CRA reporting.

about a month and a half ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Loki_1929 Re:Lies and statistics... (570 comments)

Are you certain those two collections are on your TransUnion credit report (the one Discover pulls for that monthly score update)? I'd be truly shocked if you broke 800 on a real FICO score with two collections present. I've never seen anything close to that - not with two collections.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Green deaths: The forgotten dangers of solar panel

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Loki_1929 (550940) writes "Often lost in the ideologically driven debates over which source or sources best fit humanity's needs for clean, safe power moving forward are the hazards of implementing each proposed solution in scales large enough to make a difference. This writeup covers the dangers inherent to solar panel deployments for rooftops and speaks to how that scales in a country like the United States."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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A few items of interest, you probably will want to read on..

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So I was reading about slashdot's little subscription-as-a-gift thing, and I was thinking that I might randomly select a few individuals from my fans list for a gift subscription. I was going to do the whole bunch, but then I pulled out my calculator and figured out that ~100 fans times $5 is really freakin' expensive. I really don't love you all that much - really. Anyway; I'm pondering how to do it exactly, but I'm thinking I'll probably do it Christmas morning and announce the nicknames of the lucky few in my journal. Please stay tuned for more.

Also, for those of you who were asking about the bootable CD I mentioned before, please stay tuned and I'll give you more info about what's on it and how to set it up for yourself once I have the time and inclination (probably within a week). I'll try to post replies to everyone who asked about it, but by the time I get into it, the discussion could very well be archived. One more reason to check my journal every so often.

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RIAA RICO defense...

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

This was from a previous Slashdot posting of mine, but I wanted the discussion to continue if possible. Post is reposted below:

"The suit ... charges that the RIAA's program is deceptive and fraudulent business practice."

Which brings us one step closer to my idea. If there are any real lawyers here, could you please tell me why no one has bothered to attack the RIAA's charges using the Federal RICO Act? The RIAA and member organizations have engaged in a pattern of corrupt business practices for over 50 years, and are now using the law to intimidate individuals, companies, and universities to further their interests.

From my (admittedly limited) understanding of RICO, you must prove that the organization has engaged in a pattern of criminal activity, and is using illegal means, especially under cover of authority (court actions, copyright law, etc) to further their interests. Now, the ongoing illegal activity is really two-fold. That being, the RIAA's member companies have illegally maintained an effective distribution monopoly by engaging in anti-competitive acts, and have conspired to defraud consumers with a massive price-fixing scheme which caused consumers to be overcharged by more than $480 million (USD) since 1997 alone, according to the former head of the FTC. This scheme was labled "Minimum-Advertised Pricing", or MAP by the Attorneys General who investigated and eventually brought about a settlement. With regard to the anti-competitive acts, the RIAA and member companies have engaged in such practices as "payola", in which radio stations were paid money in order to ensure that music not controlled by the RIAA's members was never played, and therefore never heard by the public at large. Thus, their only competition, the independent artist/label, continues to struggle to get by, while the RIAA monopoly takes in billions each year.

So I ask again, why is it that no one has attacked the RIAA on RICO grounds. A corrupt organization cannot use the legal system to facilitate its illegal activities. The lack of legal online modes of music distribution is but more evidence of the RIAA's desperate struggle to maintain its distribution monopoly with an iron fist. It would seem to me that showing these lawsuits to be nothing more than tactics designed to further the interests of a corrupt organization is a far better defense than, "my client didn't know it was illegal".

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The New America

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 11 years ago

---

DISCLAIMER: What I write below is in no way meant to incite any sort of violent action on anyone's part. Violence is never the only way, and a truly strong person will accomplish his or her goals through peaceful means regardless of how much more difficult it makes things. What comes below is specifically designed to provoke thought and a response; nothing more. Please, do NOT go out and do something stupid because of anything that comes from this thread.

---

So I started thinking about things a bit after starting this thread which has 18 replies thus far. Someone said that the US government isn't fucked up past the point of no return, yet. That got me thinking about what happens once it is. Should all freedom-loving people move somewhere else? Where? There is no "New World" left on planet Earth where we can set up our own government and our own way of life. What else is there then? Revolt? Not exactly a viable option when the police in this country could easily crush most any revolt. Then factor in the FBI, CIA, Army, Navy, Marines, etc, etc.

So I'm left thinking that we can do one of three things. Option one is to sit on our hands and see what happens. Maybe things get turned around in 20 years or so. Maybe it goes back to being good ole' America before we're dead. Or perhaps we resign ourselves to telling our granchildren about what it was like to be able to go anywhere you want or say anything you want without being taken away by government agents.

Option two is a full out revolt. "Great idea", except everyone who joined in would be dead or jailed within days if not hours. Even if it somehow succeeded, the cost would be too high. To win a war in modern times, you pretty much have to obliterate the place of conflict. The result? Our homes, our businesses, everything we own is destroyed. In the War of 1812, this pretty much happened. The English burned the White House to the ground, along with much of the rest of our country. In the end, it worked out well for most of them, but something like that has massive potential to be a Pyrrhic victory. Ultimately, I think this option is ridiculous, unworkable, and undesirable.

The thid option, and the one I'd suggest as the only sane alternative to option one is to fashion a new government, with a new Constitution which draws on all the knowledge we've gained from more than 200 years with our original US Constitution and to prepare to put this government in place if the time comes that our current government is beyond redemption. This differs from a revolt in that it requires broad support from the citizens of this country as well as the police and the military. The idea is that if the police, the military, and most citizens support the new government, the old government becomes irrelevent with no one left to enforce its decrees. Hence, a peaceful transition to a new and (hopefully) improved government.

Now, if we are to entertain the possibility of a new government (assuming it one day becomes necessary, and no I don't think we're anywhere near there yet - as in at least 5 or 10 years away), we'd need several things. One: a formal declaration of the rights and powers of the government, its structure, and its limitations. Two: a method of trasition (ie. how do we get from gov A to gov B without violence?). And thirdly: a list of potential people to head up the new government. Personally, I think the formal declaration should be based on the US Constitution; specifically a constitution of enumerated powers for the government, broad by its very nature, but taking into account instances where it's failed over the last 200 years. Think McCarthyism; think Japanese internment camps; think dept of Homeland Security; think indecision 2000; think DMCA. Lastly: We need a specific, yet somewhat vague list of absolute rights and privilages of all citizens, as well as those visiting, etc. Think Geneva convention; think basic human rights; think Amendments to the US Constitution. The difference here is that these would be more thoroughly explained (without being too specific as to preclude allowances for not-yet-imagined technologies and ideas), and completely absolute with some sort of fail-safe mechanism to prevent any loopholes or lapses.

Please post comments, thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. All constructive posts are welcome, even if they're controversial in nature.

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M2 (MetaModeration

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 11 years ago

"Have you Meta Moderated recently?"

I'm seeing this quite often lately. Then again, I just started moderating not too terribly long ago, so maybe it's normal to answer that question with "yeah, about 4 hours ago". Then again, I haven't gone more than two days in a row without answering the call to M2, so I suppose I'm a prime target for the asking. I've found plenty of M1's I didn't agree with, but only a handful that I could honestly say were 'unfair'. I suppose using the unfair M2 sparingly is the best way to go, as I wouldn't want to deny anyone M1 simply because I think it was a little "off". That being said, I've been leaving alone the ones where I can't make a strong decision either way, which amounts to an average of 2 or 3 per 10 M2's. If anyone has been M2'ing a bit longer, feel free to share any advice you might have, as the guidlines for M2 are (probably necessarily) a might bit vague.

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First journal entry, so I'll start in the complaints dept.

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 11 years ago

* 2002-02-26 07:29:41 The Register Invades US (articles,announce) (rejected)
        * 2002-03-12 00:01:32 Creative to aquire 3d Labs (articles,announce) (rejected)
        * 2002-04-06 01:19:53 Comcast.net users blocked from google (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-04-29 15:29:57 Hollings' new bill just as bad as the last one (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-06-11 15:10:32 US Citizen to be held indefinitely without counsel (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-07-29 17:39:05 "Pre-Crime" may become a reality (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-09-13 01:36:28 The future of computing - CDS (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-10-03 03:29:28 Mitnick's laptop for sale on Ebay (articles,news) (rejected)

Of the 8 stories I've submitted since I started doing that, I believe 7 were good, solid stories, with at least 4 well-deserving front-page shots. 3 were posted several hours or days after I submitted. I'm not so much complaining about the rejected stories, as I'm asking whether or not I should continue taking the time to submit them.

Are there just so many people submitting stories that I need not bother?

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