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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Orgasmatron Re:I just don't understand (1063 comments)

A trial would have been a waste of time.

The grand jury is stacked against the defendant in several ways. First, there is no defense. Second, the standard is "probable cause" instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt". Third, the grand jury only needs 9 votes to indict, while the trial needs 12 votes to convict. If the three quarters of the grand jury doesn't find, using very low standards, and without and defense opposition, that there was enough evidence to even warrant a trial (which would be done with very high standards, and an active defense team), then there was pretty much no chance that a trial would result in a conviction. This is really the whole point of the grand jury system. It is a high-pass filter, rejecting cases that are seriously lacking in merit.

In this case, the physical evidence has pretty well debunked the various execution fantasies. Even with a trial, we'd never have a perfectly accurate story of what happened, but we can be nearly certain that there was no murder, nor any manslaughter. All of the evidence and testimony will be public.

2 days ago
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Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

Orgasmatron Easy (135 comments)

STOP GIVING OUT CABLE MONOPOLIES.

That's really all you have to do. There is no competition in most markets because competition is banned by government decree.

I live in a town with two cable companies. Actually, I live 5 miles out of town. Both cable companies have fiber optic networks here, both have great customer service, high speeds, low prices, etc.

The city I lived in previously had granted a monopoly to Charter. Charter has a coax network, lousy customer service, low speeds, high prices, etc.

Cable + DSL is not a meaningful competition, so having 2 monopolies is not the way to go. Stop granting cable monopolies and you will have competition.

P.S. Both companies have fully developed fiber networks in the ground (and on poles in some places) so don't try claiming that the monopoly is necessary for physical reasons. It isn't.

about two weeks ago
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ISPs Removing Their Customers' Email Encryption

Orgasmatron Re:Requiring encryption server-side (245 comments)

Typically, the mail server won't even advertise the AUTH command until after the connection is encrypted.

If your mail client is sending unadvertised commands, you should probably file a bug report.

about two weeks ago
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Gridlock In Action: Retailers Demand New Regulations To Protect Consumers

Orgasmatron Missing the point. (127 comments)

This isn't (just) about trying to dodge liability by having defined standards to meet.

The big retailers are all spending shitloads of money on security because they have to. Now they want regulations that require everyone else to do the same.

A few million each year for security compliance is nothing to Target or Walmart. It is a dagger in the heart of their local and regional competition.

about two weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

Orgasmatron Public school education? (551 comments)

You might want to check your history a bit. For example, various Civil Rights Acts since 1866 were passed over Democrat objections. Even the 1964 act had much stronger support from Republicans than from Democrat.

http://www.black-and-right.com...

about three weeks ago
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New Study Shows Three Abrupt Pulses of CO2 During Last Deglaciation

Orgasmatron Re:Correlation does not imply causation (132 comments)

No, it almost never happens in science. That error is typically a symptom of pseudoscience.

about a month ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Orgasmatron Re:It's in the license! (572 comments)

If you park in a ramp, the back of the ticket says that the ramp's owners/management disclaim responsibility for damage to the cars.

That means that you shouldn't complain to them if the guy that parks next to you dings your car with his door. It doesn't mean that the employees expect that they have permission to walk down a row of cars smashing out headlights with a hammer.

about a month ago
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Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Orgasmatron Re:Pseudoscience Lunacy (366 comments)

So, what you are saying is that you are unaware of the mountain of research into this field, and prefer to rely on something you heard from someone who was equally uninformed, but which sounded "right" to you?

Intelligence is wildly complex, and even the one part of it that we measure as IQ is beyond our current comprehension, so I wouldn't bet much money on the results of selecting for it genetically, based on our current knowledge of the subject. But if you think that IQ is "dubious", you are telling us about your biases, nothing more.

about a month ago
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Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Orgasmatron Re:Citation please... (366 comments)

Don't be too hard on him. I read the same story a while back. It may have even been linked up here on /., but I don't remember exactly.

I spent a couple of seconds looking for it too, but can't find it. Doesn't matter though, it was from a soft "science" that places no value in reproducing results, has no tradition of introspection, and a tendency to stretch results (occasionally real, but usually statistical artifact) into sensational claims. And just imagine how much worse it gets when the press gets involved...

Usually these are done by picking a "proxy" for X, a "proxy" for Y, torturing the data until it provides a small p value, and then claiming that X causes Y. Note that you can't reliably determine an infant's political views, so a proxy for Republican-ness is necessary unless you are willing to wait a couple of decades after measuring the thing that you are going to pass off as "fear".

about a month ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Orgasmatron Re:Overrated... (839 comments)

"sit on their money and let it grow" ? Really?

I've got $100 in my wallet right now, and I'm sitting on it. I don't use cash much, so it's been there for ages. But it has not grown and never will. (Though if we had honest money, natural deflation would make things cheaper, which is sorta like growing, but not the same.)

If I want it to grow, I have to take a risk with it. I need to give it to someone else, in return for a promise that they will return it and more. Or I need to spend it myself on something that I think will be a productive asset.

(I'm not making an argument for/against consumption or capital taxes here. I'm just pointing out a gross error in your post and/or thinking.)

about a month ago
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What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

Orgasmatron Re:Slackware (303 comments)

You are doing it wrong. Slackware isn't for gurus, it makes them.

about a month and a half ago
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Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

Orgasmatron Re:Why a fixed hostname? (191 comments)

Mostly.

I moved a while back and have fiber now. The ONT is powered by a special UPS, using some unusual power connector. So, I didn't set up the relay box.

But the scripts still run, they still harvest IPs and monitor them. Fortunately, it hasn't needed a reset yet. My few problems have been at the head end: their DHCP server died once, and they had routing problems one other time.

about a month and a half ago
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Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

Orgasmatron Why a fixed hostname? (191 comments)

Old cable modems sucked. Mine would often lock up, needing a power cycle to resume working. Very annoying when I was at work.

The quick and easy solution is to monitor the connection status and flip a relay to reboot the modem. But how to monitor the connection? Setting a single host or IP seemed like a bad idea because it would have added an extra, and totally unnecessary, single point of failure.

Instead, my home router (slackware box with 2 ethernet cards) collects the IPs that I connect to (by watching the conntrack stuff in /proc/ ), and if it can ping them, adds them to the ping list. It then pings random selections from that list to verify connectivity. IPs are removed if they are unreachable for a while (until it decides the connection is down; no point purging the whole list because of an outage).

Took me a couple of hours to set up and debug, back in like 2002 or 2005 or whenever I wrote it. I presume that there is some free software to do the same task by now.

Monitoring a single fixed hostname is foolish, at best. And this is like the 3rd or 4th big story (that I can think of) about home routers acting badly because of hardcoded values.

about a month and a half ago
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Former Department of Defense Chief Expects "30 Year War"

Orgasmatron Re:Two words (425 comments)

Obama already tried that. His decision to pull out without leaving a residual force is why we now have ISIS on the news today.

Are you suggesting that we should invade again, so that we can flee a second time? Or do you think we should pull out-er than we've already pulled out?

P.S. There were no false pretenses and at one point we had won and accomplished something close to political stability. Obama really snatched defeat from the jaws of victory here. I don't know what to make of your other claims.

about a month and a half ago
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Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

Orgasmatron Re:Communism Inspired Tyranny (652 comments)

Central planning does not work, in general. See Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit" if you are wondering how and why.

Which isn't to say that central planning can never work. A rail network is a large enough project that it more or less must be planned. The question there is who does the planning and who pays for it.

Under capitalism, the people planning it are the ones providing the funding. If they plan it poorly, they lose money, and thus have less ability to make poor decisions in the future. If they plan it well, they profit, and thus have more ability to make good decisions in the future.

about 1 month ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

Orgasmatron Erm... (534 comments)

It isn't like we are getting live video from these exoplanets. I find it a bit unlikely that any major (or minor) religions will be shaken by spectrograph squiggles, even if we are pretty sure they are evidence of biology.

about 2 months ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Orgasmatron Re:net metering != solar and 10% needs new physics (488 comments)

By counting atoms, it may be thousands of times more common, but in terms of extracting metal, it looks like it'll run into the same problem that lead has. See http://www2.manganese.org/rese...

I'm a firm believer in the ability of industrial mining to get at the things we need, so if we start making batteries using manganese electrodes, we'll come up with the metal, somehow. But when your project requires on the order of 1.6 billion tons of anything, and that thing's experts say that there are probably around a couple billion tons of it around, you've got problems. We certainly aren't going to be extracting most of the currently estimated world's supply of manganese at a price anywhere near today's prices.

(Math on the amount of manganese needed: The lead battery needs 5 billion tons at 15kg per kWh. The Aquion battery needs ~10 kg of NaMnO2 cathode per kWh. About half of the mass of the electrode is elemental manganese, so 5 kg per kWh.)

You can have your electrical storage, and these new batteries can make that cheaper. But you still can't scale this up to a national project.

about 2 months ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Orgasmatron Re:net metering != solar and 10% needs new physics (488 comments)

Read the national battery article again. Unless these batteries use something vastly more plentiful than lead (which seems unlikely, considering the abundance of lead) it won't scale up.

Solar can't average out the night. We would need to store between 60% and 75% of national consumption at an absolute bare minimum. If we used every single mined, mine-able and suspected atom of lead on the planet for a lead acid battery, we get 2%. Using something 10 times as abundant (which doesn't exist) and we are a third or a fourth of the way there.

about 2 months ago

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