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Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

NReitzel Who Cares? (282 comments)

Good print media?

Really. Local newspaper provides enough to wrap up stuff to ship, and a few sheets to use to light charcoal.

Other than that, who cares?

3 days ago

Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

NReitzel Back to One Man, One Vote (803 comments)

Perhaps it's time for a constitutional amendment.

In times of past, when it took weeks and months to communicate between far away places (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) it made sense to structure the political organization of this country as a railroad organization. Today, it does not.

What we need to do is simple: We need to define, in simple print, that corporate fictions are not in fact citizens, and as such, do not have political freedoms or civil rights as such.

The concept if a corporate fiction as a person is a bit ridiculous anyway. A corporation can engage in activities that kill people (against the law) but they cannot be imprisoned. Finding General Motors (say) criminally liable for something that they have done corporately is a joke. They are already immune from such prosecution and bringing criminal charges that stick against board members or management is a very difficult thing.

If corporate entities cannot participate in the democratic process; there is no proxy for voting in a general election. We should formalize this and extend it so that corporate fictions simply cannot make political contributions of any size whatsoever. If management has strong political feelings, let the members make a personal contribution in their own name and not from corporate funds. If a CEO wants to contribute millions to a political candidate, well, they're paid enough to write the check. If a corporation feels strongly about a political issue, they can encourage (but not require) that their employees write their own checks to whatever political cause is extant. A vote, and a political contribution, should only be permitted to come from someone who can be demonstrated to be a living, breathing person and not some vacuous entity dreamed up by invisible attorneys.

This moves us back to the "one man, one vote" ideal our forefathers envisioned. Right now, we're moving ever closer to merchantilism and "One Dollar, One Vote" -- which, in my humble opinion, is not a good thing at all.

3 days ago

Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

NReitzel Re:Perjury? Sony? Say it Ain't So. (306 comments)

I personally think the situation is -much- simpler.

Google just needs to not return anything with "Sony" in it, as a search result.

about two weeks ago

$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

NReitzel Re:Did Fluke request this? (653 comments)

Are you kidding? They ordered meters from a Chinese company. Let's see, what kind of plastic did the Chinese company have laying around in their regrind bin, maybe from injection molding a lot of those "F" meters...

I think the Chainsaw option mentioned above is the best option. Don't buy Fluke. Ever.

about 1 month ago

Why Did New Zealand's Moas Go Extinct?

NReitzel Re:Did past people hunt in a sustainable manner? (180 comments)

Are you kidding? The reason that "native americans" lived "in harmony" with nature is because they had no horses. They were hunter-gatherers, and would move into an area and kill and eat every single thing that they could reach by walking a few days. Then, when the game was gone, they picked up stakes and moved to their next place.

Now, lest one think I'm attacking an ethnic group, let me point out that non-humans do the same thing. A species will move into an area, and eat everything they can catch or reach. It has - for eons - been a war between those that eat, and those that get eaten, and I'll include plants in this war, also.

A few seasons of excellent rains and growth in a deciduous forest holding ungulates will result in extensive damage to underbrush, to the point where the next generation of animals is put under population control by that oldest of birth control methods: starvation. One of the reasons that the US states have licensed hunting seasons is to manage such populations of not-humans that can and do destroy their environment. In point of fact, humans are the very first animal who have the option to make a choice to not damage their environment.

So for those who feel all puffy and bad about evil humans, you've missed the boat. You are sporting a ludicrous level of ignorance. Animals survive in the presence of humans only to the extent that they evolve to become stealthy enough, dangerous enough, or manage to breed even more wantonly than the humans who hunt them. The most common form of death, from time immemorial, is assassination with intent to ingest.

about a month ago

Navy Won't Investigate Nuclear Pollution At San Francisco's Treasure Island

NReitzel Is it going to be paved? (121 comments)

If the area is going to end up paved, without wells or agriculture, then low level cesium contamination is beside the point.

When Los Alamos (of Plutonium era) was refurbished for civilian use, the walls were painted over with bright red paint, followed by white paint. The paint was adequate to block plutonium alphas and daughter betas. The rule for the buildings was "if you see red, call maintenance."

about 2 months ago

Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners

NReitzel Nissan Leaf, Suspension, Suspension, Suspension (335 comments)

Nissan might have more luck selling their expensive electric if the darn thing weren't sprung like an overstuffed haywagon. The suspension is so soft there is not a trace of road feel, and the power steering is so squishy it's like driving a virtual reality vehicle in a bang-em-up game.

Not everybody who wants an electric wants it to feel like a Ford Explorer.

about 2 months ago

Iran's Hacking of US Navy 'Extensive,' Repairs Took $10M and 4 Months

NReitzel One must ask, "Who started the Cycle?" (147 comments)

So, we unleashed stuxnet. Among other things, it came back and bit us on the ass, and now those against whom we sinned, have returned the favor.

"What a Shock!"

At mait lefitgam dekharev, at khai lefitgam dekharev.

about 2 months ago

Cheerios To Go GMO-Free

NReitzel The corn starch? Gimme a break! (419 comments)

So, General Mills is switching the cornstarch and sugar, so that they don't come from GMO'd crops. Great.

There is noi DNA, nor protein, nor anything that might be GMOed in either cornstarch or sugar. So much for the big change; it's an absolute unevent.

Heck, you'd think some other company, like Ralston for example, would switch to non-gluten cereals in their Rice Chex or Corn Chex.

I'd say that they are idiots, except that clearly they are not. They've changed the labels for the idiots that buy this stuff. Don't actual facts mean -anything- to our brain dead consumer population any more?

about 4 months ago

NASA Testing Lighter Space Suits For Asteroid Work

NReitzel Return to a space suit design of the 1960s (54 comments)

Yep, NASA is all for a return to the 1960's. The Glory Days.

Spent money like water, came up with the shortest path to "beating them Ruskies"

They never learned to build infrastructure. They never wanted to launch a mission that had any risk. They apparently never read the proverb, "Those who refuse to face failure, need never worry about success."

C'mon, guys. Let's go back to a capsule, water landings, Big Disposable Boosters.

Maybe you should consider trying to reengineer an actual practical shuttle, and not let the military in to make it bigger-by-the-month, until it was just barely able to do it's thing. How about taking it in small steps, learn something at every step, and go on from there? Do you really have to make a Giant Pert Chart that lists the entire future of the NASA space mission, and then try to keep everything on schedule? Perhaps you should consider having pilots and scientists, instead of bureaucrats and accountants.

about 4 months ago

SpaceX Wins Use of NASA's Launch Pad 39A

NReitzel Re: No, not good at all. (99 comments)

When companies (Microsoft?) get into the business of doing business by hiring lawyers to hobble their competition, we all lose. Those companies spend a lot of money that could to go R&D (remember that?) on lawyers, instead, which benefits no one but said lawyers.

'Member 3 years old? "Now, Elton, it's better to share."

about 4 months ago

Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

NReitzel Re:News for Nerds... (710 comments)

Well, consider that nowhere does the theory of evolution say that all of a species is identical.

Just consider that some humans have evolved, and others are fundamentalists.

about 5 months ago

US Wary of Allowing Russian Electronic Monitoring Stations Inside US

NReitzel Re:If we're not doing anything wrong... (232 comments)

The point is, if we were actually going to attack the Russians (or anyone else) there would be a lot of chatter between stations, a lot of evidence of setting up the logistics of such an attack. Plans, per se, don't bother me, as you point out, we play those games every day, as do the Russians, and the Chinese, and the Brits. I'm not sure what the French do.

If we were about to realize a plan to attack Russia, there would be ample evidence of doing so. If we're not about to attack Russia, there ought to be pretty good evidence of that, also.

Let them listen. This country shouldn't be thinking "First Strike" at all.

about 5 months ago

US Wary of Allowing Russian Electronic Monitoring Stations Inside US

NReitzel If we're not doing anything wrong... (232 comments)

So, the Russians want to monitor stuff inside the US borders. Ok, so what?

To flip what we've heard from the NSA around, "If we're not doing anything wrong, we don't have to worry."

In point of fact, letting the Russians monitor internal military chatter sounds like a good idea to me. That way, they -know- we aren't planning on attacking them. And.. by the way, we -aren't- planning on attacking the Russians, are we? If we are, _I_ would like to know about it, forget what the Russians know.

The days of Red Baiting should be over. We should have an open society, and if the Russians want to eavesdrop, more power to them. Truthfully, I'm a lot more worried about what our own government wants to keep track of than I am about what any Russians (or Chinese) want to track. And if it improves the accuracy of their weapons, does that mean that they're more likely to blow up a military base than the local YMCA? That's good, isn't it?

about 5 months ago

US Executions Threaten Supply of Anaesthetic Used For Surgical Procedures

NReitzel Use Nitrogen Gas (1160 comments)

If we are bound and determined to execute people, and a criterion is that it be done "humanely", then we can use asphixiation by nitrogen gas.

Many nitrogen accidents have occurred in the past, including a fairly recent one at NASA where people have entered spaces filled with nitrogen and just passed out and died without any awareness of the danger, or any indication that bad things were about to happen. Aviators used to be required to experience anoxia (lackof oxygen) due to altitude, and as one who has experienced this, I can state from personal experience there is no discomfort whatsoever.

As a method, this is akin to a gas chamber except that no poisons are used. The chamber is flooded with nitrogen gas, which does not support life. As the oxygen content of the subject's blood falls, they experience a short period (seconds) of tunnel vision, then lose consciousness, and shortly thereafter, die. There is no choking or strangling sensation, no feeling of not being able to catch one's breath. So if you want to talk about "humane" in the same sentence as "execute" this is the way to go. it's cheap, doesn't require any toxic drugs and doesn't have any disposal problems.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: When Is It OK To Not Give Notice?

NReitzel Two weeks doesn't keep bridges intact (892 comments)

I also think you shouldn't burn bridges.

However, with a lot of companies, simply quitting is burning the bridges, and a "good reference" is a fairy tale.

It all depends on the company you're working for. Not giving notice is rude and improper, and having a document that shows you did in fact give notice may be the only thing that keeps one of "those" companies from telling your prospective employer that you made off with trade secrets, the coffee fund, and the boss's secretary.

about 8 months ago

Is New York City Ready For Digital Voting?

NReitzel Undo Gerrymandering? (93 comments)

If some very bright person could figure out how to under gerrymandering of precincts, I'd vote for them on that principle alone.

Nobody likes that idea, though, because it threatens all the little fiefdoms established in congress and state legislatures, and might result in the end of millions of dollars of corporate bribes, er, contributions.

To Congressdorks: Remember Arab Spring. It can happen here.

about 8 months ago

Encrypted Email Provider Lavabit Shuts Down, Blames US Gov't

NReitzel Why is anyone surprised? (771 comments)

I don't fathom why people seem so shocked by this turn of events.

The liberal politician Gore Vidal once remarked that "Now that the Great Red Menace is gone, the government can turn it's attention to the real enemy, which is now, and always has been, The People."

It always impressed me that when the Soviet Union fell apart, a huge number of "security" workers in GDR's Stasi ended up out of work. It seems that similarly to the end of WWII when rocket scientists were looking for a place to ply their trade, the US government stepped in and acquired their talents.

I've always thought that our government - the US government - should have named the agency who handles US security the UStasi. They've learned well from our East German mentors, and are in the process of jailing enemy combatants forever without trial, intercepting everyone's email and phone calls. They don't file body odor samples "for the dogs" yet, but they want to take DNA from everyone that is arrested, conviction or not. They want warrentless searches and that pesky Fourth Amendment is just an inconvenience. Who cares about the right to not self-incriminate, cough up those passwords, or else. General Michael Hayden, former head of UStasi (sorry, NSA) wanted to be able to use "aggressive interrogation."

This seems a sad turn for my country, the land that I love. Jefferson is probably rotating at high speed in his tomb.

about 8 months ago

Progress On the Open Laptop

NReitzel A Python Scripted Oscilloscope? (57 comments)

I couldn't help notice the line calling this (among other things) a python-scripted oscilloscope.

As an engineer, let me say, "To heck with the laptop bit, where do I sign up and buy one?"

Daughter boards. WiFi (if you must), Bluetooth (if you must), and Analog Channels, Bay-Bee!

about 9 months ago


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