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Comments

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

Nkwe Re:Incentives to pay less (405 comments)

If everyone pays a flat sales tax rate, the people who spend more will bear most of the economic burden.

So you are creating an incentive for everyone to pay less and you think that will somehow help the economy? Curious bit of logic you have there.

Please read the context of the thread. I am not advocating a flat sales tax. I was disputing the GP post that suggested a flat sales tax shifts the overall economic burden to the poor. A flat sales tax would impact the poor more than the rich in terms of percentage of income spent on taxes, but those who spend more (the rich) would shoulder more of the overall economic burden.

about a week ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

Nkwe Re:Solution (405 comments)

If everyone just pays a flat sales tax rate, the poor bear most of the economic burden.

No. If everyone pays a flat sales tax rate, the people who spend more will bear most of the economic burden. The poor would pay a smaller part of the overall economic burden (because the poor spend less money in the overall economy than the rich do.)

It is possible and likely that the burden on the poor would be more as the percentage of they money that they have that goes to taxes could be higher, but it is inaccurate to say that poor would pay more of the overall burden to the economy a.k.a. "the economic burden".

Please do not confuse "the economic burden" with "the burden on the poor". It is an important distinction. They are both important issues, but they are different issues, and should have different arguments and conversations behind them.

about a week ago
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What To Expect With Windows 9

Nkwe Windows (543 comments)

Windows needs to have windows. With "windows" being rectangular application client areas on the screen, ideally resizable with UI elements common across the system for closing, moving, and resizing.

Hierarchical start menu.

about two weeks ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Nkwe Re:Next steps (600 comments)

If this or a similar technology ends up in guns (and assuming it can actually be made to work), we end up with a computer in the gun that knows who fired the gun. It is not a technical stretch to add time and location detection circuitry and end up with a record of the when, where, and who of each firing.

While I am generally opposed to such technology in guns, I can see one positive aspect: We could prove what we have known all along, Han shot first.

about two weeks ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Nkwe Next steps (600 comments)

If this or a similar technology ends up in guns (and assuming it can actually be made to work), we end up with a computer in the gun that knows who fired the gun. It is not a technical stretch to add time and location detection circuitry and end up with a record of the when, where, and who of each firing.

This is either a strong positive or negative depending on which side of the "gun issue" you are on, but I haven't seen much discussion on what the tech could lead to (and its ramifications to each side of the debate). There are many interesting potential ramifications:

  • Privacy
  • Use of the log as evidence
  • Static Geo-Fencing (prevention of gun use in predefined locations)
  • Dynamic Geo-Fencing (on demand prevention of gun use in dynamically added locations)
  • Firmware updates
  • Taxes or fees per round fired

about two weeks ago
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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Nkwe Re:This is no different. (206 comments)

Are you suggesting that said *pacemaker* is storing location information without any method to nondestructively access it? If so, I call bullshit. If not, the cops need only use the same interface to extract the information without killing you.

I am not talking about the technical ability to extract data from the fictional future device, I am talking about the legality. My point is that if some future medically necessary device did for some reason store historical location information, that such data should be covered by the same laws that protect a person from self-incrimination. If I don't have tell tell the cops where I was last Thursday, a medically necessary device that I can't live without and which I can't control the data collected on, should also not be available to the cops to extract the data about where I was last Thursday.

about three weeks ago
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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Nkwe Re:This is no different. (206 comments)

Why does it matter if the device is physically inside you or necessary to live? Why is a futuristic pacemaker any different than a cell phone?

It is about choice. In my opinion, it is different because such a device would not be carried by choice nor would it have data that you voluntarily placed on it. A cell phone or other computer you carry by choice. Data you put on your cell phone (pictures, email, GPS tracks, etc.), you put on by choice. With a pacemaker (or other medically necessary device), you really don't have a choice to have with you (unless you choose to die). Operational data that such a medical device might gather, you don't have any practical control over.

While fingerprints or left behind DNA can indicate that you were somewhere, they don't on their own give a history of the places you have been. You can't take a fingerprint or DNA sample from a person and get a history of all the places they have been. With an embedded device that keeps location history, you could theoretically extract the history of the locations you have been (without having to go to those places to collect evidence).

about three weeks ago
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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Nkwe Re:This is no different. (206 comments)

... There is no new legal questions created by putting electronics inside people rather than simply keeping them detached.

Maybe, maybe not. Let's say that you have some sort of future pacemaker or other medical device implanted that you need to stay alive. For whatever reason this device as part of its normal function also happens to have historical location information in it. Perhaps the device optimizes or alters its operation depending on your altitude or location. This device would be a part of you and having it wouldn't really be a choice. Would forcefully extracting information from such a device be any different than compelling a person to testify against their will?

about three weeks ago
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Oregon Suing Oracle Over Obamacare Site, But Still Needs Oracle's Help

Nkwe Re:grow your own exchange (116 comments)

Then I guess all of the folks of Oregon will just have to grow cannabis and self medicate till this thing blows over.

We have to wait until November to decide if this is a legal option or not. Of course there is a segment of the population not willing to wait...

about a month ago
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Code.org Discloses Top Donors

Nkwe Computer Science or Coding? (59 comments)

"Under the leadership of Code.org, explained the ACM, it joined CSTA, NCWIT, NSF, Microsoft and Google in an effort "to reshape the U.S. education system," including passing a federal law making Computer Science a "core subject" in schools.

There are lots of comments here that show concern about mass producing coders and driving wages down. It is important to distinguish between Computer Science and Coding. "Coding", being the act of taking a specification or design and translating it into the syntax of a given computer language, likely is or could be a commodity skill or vocational level activity. "Computer Science", formally being the study and theory of how computers and software work, and informally the development of algorithms and solutions using computers (architecture and design of a specific solution) is a different animal. Computer Science is unlikely to be a commodity skill as it requires advanced skills, training/experience, and level of insight or art that not everyone has or can achieve.

about a month ago
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Scientists Craft Seamless 2D Semiconductor Junctions

Nkwe Can stuff this small work in the real world? (49 comments)

I am curious as to if a conductor that is only a couple of atoms "thick" can be practical in the real world. Normal conductors can withstand all sorts of abuse as they have a large number of atoms and can afford to have a significant percentage of those atoms moved, removed, converted (reacted with), etc. If you have a conductor that is only three atoms thick, each atom is going to count. How do you prevent just one of those atoms from being dialoged due to mechanical stresses, chemical interaction, cosmic rays, or whatever? Does this require that these conductors be sealed at an atomic level in a vacuum or other inert container and is this feasible?

about a month ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

Nkwe Re:Never gonna work ... (506 comments)

How do you plan to handle 300 cars all trying to pull over and stop at the same time, because they have no idea what to do?

The same way you would handle a traffic jam when everyone ends up parked on the freeway. Presumably as the car becomes less sure of what to do, it would begin to slow down (never violating the primary rule of not running into what is in front of you). As it becomes less and less sure, it would eventually stop. Pulling over is a bonus, but not always required. It is really the same way as a human driver I deal with unsure or unclear driving situations. For example if there is a wall of stopped cars in front of me, I slow down and don't run into them; if it starts raining or snowing hard and I can't see very far ahead, I slow down to ensure that I can stop the car within the distance I can actually see; if I think driving conditions are overly unsafe, I pull over at the first opportunity - potentially creeping along until I find somewhere to pull over. As a human driver, if I need stop in the road or drive significantly slower than the speed other drivers would expect, I do things like tap the breaks multiple times (to flash the break lights) and turn on the hazard flashers. I would assume that an automated driver would take similar actions to alert other cars (both automated and human driven) that unusual operation is about to or is taking place.

In your scenario, with lots of cars all becoming "unsure" of what to do, everyone just stops. Once everyone stops, each car can either start back up (assuming that the car understands "traffic jam") or the human drivers (who have now had time to become aware of what is happening) can take over.

about a month ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

Nkwe Re:Never gonna work ... (506 comments)

As long as there is a pretense of handing back to the driver in even of an emergency, this is a glorified cruise control, and I'll bloody well drive myself.

If I'm ultimately responsible for the vehicle, I'll stay in control of the vehicle. Because if there's a 10 second lag between when the computer throws up its hands and says "I have no idea" and when the user is actually aware enough and in control, that is the window where Really Bad Things will happen.

I would agree if the human is expected to be able to take over at any time. But what about if automation was to the point that if the computer found conditions too complicated, it would pull over and stop the vehicle. Once stopped by the computer, manual controls would be used to drive in those "complicated" situations. You could have the option to interrupt the "safe stop" process and assume control if the human driver felt comfortable doing so, but If the logic included an unattended safe stop, would it be good enough? (I am not saying that we have the ability to build a system that could always achieve an unattended safe stop, but if we if we could - or at least build a system that could achieve an unattended safe stop at a provably better chance than humans can achieve an attended stop - would it be good enough?)

about a month ago
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Google Is Backing a New $300 Million High-Speed Internet Trans-Pacific Cable

Nkwe Re:Only 6 pairs? (135 comments)

For each fiber, you need an amplifier every 50 (?) km. You may run into a weight limit where the amplifier pack becomes too heavy to be suspended by the cable during cable laying.

And those amplifiers require power, which is hard to transmit over a cable at those distances. (Well maybe not "hard", but the length imposes practical limits.)

about a month and a half ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

Nkwe Re:Uncertainty/fear? (550 comments)

I'm not sure that this is still true, but don't you go blind for a few minutes while the procedure is going on? That's what frightens me - the thought that I might go blind and not have my sight come back.

Yes you do (but it is seconds, not minutes). The part of the procedure they don't really tell you about in advance is that they basically use a vacuum cleaner to suck your eyeball out of your head while they do the procedure. Actually they use suction to slightly pull on your eyeball and hold it still while the laser is doing it's work; while this is happening, you can't see out of the eye -- it all goes dark. This part of the procedure (which really only lasts for a few seconds on each eye) is fairly unpleasant and is probably the reason they give you Valium.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Nkwe Re:Server 2012 already looks like Windows 8. (322 comments)

Very specially written? You mean any piece of Powershell, any .NET assembly, or any COM service?

or any executable (and yes, if that executable doesn't understand the Powershell object pipeline, you can just hand it plain old text on standard input).

about 2 months ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Nkwe Re:Just another reason not to fly..... (217 comments)

I am curious by what logic is it determined that frequent flying reduces risk

I don't think that it is frequent flying itself that reduces risk. Rather if you fly frequently, the airlines consider you a better customer. Since the airlines want to keep their better customers, they try and make life easier for customers by reducing the airline related "hassles". The airline related hassles don't have anything to do with risk. What some airlines also do is sponsor their better customers for the TSA Pre program, which does reduce risk. Risk in TSA Pre is reduced by background checks.The cost of these checks theoretically covered by the application fee that the airlines pay on their customers' behalf.

about 2 months ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Nkwe Re:Just another reason not to fly..... (217 comments)

But that stuff you rambled on about certainly sounds like a hassle. Is that how you live your life? Really?

Nope, I don't do any of it. I was just saying that if you are trying to avoid being tracked when traveling by avoiding flying, it won't do you any good. I travel a lot and I assume that I am tracked a lot.

Actually if you travel a lot, the hassle factor gets greatly reduced; when you travel by air frequently, you gain status with the airlines and they treat you much nicer. You also become eligible for TSA Pre / known traveler, which lets you go back to the simple "old school" security which is basically just walking through the metal detector and running your bags through the x-ray. No more taking coat and shoes off, extracting laptop and liquids, etc. It typically takes me 5-10 minutes from the time I arrive at the airport front door to the time I clear security.

about 2 months ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Nkwe Re:Just another reason not to fly..... (217 comments)

My wife and I last flew commercial on 9-10-2001 out of LGA, the day before 9-11. My wife and I decided, the next day that, short of an emergency situation, we were done flying commercial. If we couldn't drive to get there, we didn't need to go. It's not because we were afraid of terrorists, but we saw what a hassle and invasion of privacy it would became.

I hope that when you are driving, you don't use any toll roads and that when you buy gas or anything else, you use cash that you obtained from an ATM when you were at home. Best also not to drive through any intersections with red light cameras. You also might need to put optical filters on your license plates if you don't want to be tracked. There are lots of cameras out there.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Nkwe Nkwe writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Nkwe (604125) writes "In order to ease border crossings Washington State is introducing 'Enhanced' (with RFID) driver's licenses.

"They will look much like conventional driver's licenses, but will be loaded with proof of citizenship and other information that can be easily scanned at the border."
The requirement for a passport at all US borders is an issue local commerce between Washington State and Canada, and the new driver's license is less expensive then a passport, but what "other" costs will it create?"

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