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Comments

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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

Pollux Cracked up when I saw this photo (274 comments)

Did anyone else think that, when they saw the second photo on the Wired.com article that some awkward conversation took place prior to the photo that went something like this:

Photographer: "Tell your worker there to look busy. I need photos for the article."
Manager: "What do you want him to do?"
Photographer: "I don't know! What does that machine do over there?"
Manager: "That's our automated steel blaster."
Photographer: "That sounds important. Have your guy go over there and operate it."
Manager: "But it's fully automated. Everything's set the way it needs to be."
Photographer: "But I need -something-! Just have him stand next to it and look like he's reconfiguring it."
          Manager to Technician: "Technician, go over to the panel and look busy."
          Technician: "Sir, I don't work on this machine. And there are signs all over it saying 'Do Not Touch!'"
          Manager: "I don't care! This American fool needs a photo!"
          Technician: "How foolish! The entire system is automated! Did you tell him this?"
          Manager: "Of course I did! He didn't listen."
          Technician: "What am I supposed to do then?"
          Manager: "I don't know! Just go over there and look like you're pushing a button."
          Technician: "But I don't want to break the machine! It is a masterpiece!"
          Manager: "Fine, fine, just, um, just point at the button with your finger. And touch the button. Yes, yes, that looks convincing."
          Technician: "Does it really look like I'm pressing it?"
          Manager: "No, you look stupid. But just stay there, like that, alright?"
          Technician: "Stupid Americans. No wonder their economy sucks."

5 days ago
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Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

Pollux LFTR (218 comments)

I love the idea of LFTR. Honestly. A thousand years of cheap and plentiful fuel, simplified nuclear design, smaller physical footprint, lower risk of cataclysmic meltdown & resulting fallout, waste having a much lower half-life, no CO2 emissions...

But it's still an idea. After Oak Ridge, there's been no government-led development of LFTR reactors in the states. Our only hopes at present are either with the Chinese or a private company called Flibe Energy that's trying to gather investment funds to build LFTE reactors for army bases.

about a week ago
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Former Department of Defense Chief Expects "30 Year War"

Pollux Two words (425 comments)

Pull out.

We've bankrupted our nation to pay for a war that was waged on false pretenses, bankrupted our nation, and corrupted our spirit. What more do we need to pay for a complete failure to accomplish anything other than creating political instability in both nations we invaded?

about three weeks ago
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HP Is Planning To Split Into Two Separate Businesses, Sources Say

Pollux Some advice to the CEOs... (118 comments)

If you can't figure out how to make one company successful, why double your workload?

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

Pollux All doublespeak (223 comments)

Terrorists did not take away our freedoms. They were only successful in killing 2,996 people and causing about $19 billion in property damage. We gave our own freedoms away.

And in more doublespeak, Obama shared this with us today:

“We carry on because as Americans we do not give in to fear. Ever."

Nope. Americans never give into fear. We also don't allow virtual strip searches at airports, we don't allow the federal government to spy on our private cellular communications, and we guarantee all political whistle-blowers immunity from criminal charges.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

Pollux A lesson in warrants and probable cause (790 comments)

I understand your concern about corporations breaching your 4th amendment rights, but your reasoning is misplaced. In fact, this case is a great example of the 4th amendment being followed, not circumvented.

The 4th amendment does not guarantee protection against search and seizure; it limits when and how searches and seizures can be exercised. Here's a portion of the 4th amendment for you: "...no Warrants shall [be] issue[d], but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In this case, Google's tip was not used as evidence to convict this man of a crime. Google's tip was used by police to justify probable cause that a crime had been committed. (This does not mean he's guilty of the crime, only that there's a greater likelihood that he committed it than he didn't.) The police used this information to obtain a search warrant. I'm sure that the evidence they used to convict him was gathered through the exercise of that warrant.

Google's tip is no different than a tip coming from any other source. Say a bank teller (for association's sake, let's say the bank was incorporated) was just depositing some money for a customer who drove up to her window, and she saw in her security camera what she believed to be a missing child. She calls police and reports what she saw. The police go to the bank and look at the recorded camera footage and agree that the image captured does resemble a missing child. They grab the license plate number from the footage, trace the registration to its owner, obtain a search warrant, go to the owner's residence, search the premise, find the child, confirm it's the missing child, and convict the individual of kidnapping (and probably a host of other charges to boot). In this circumstance, private information (whether an e-mail sitting on Google-owned servers or a bank's CCTV DVR) shared with police is used to meet probable cause and obtain a warrant. And in both circumstances, a search and seizure is warranted.

If you want to minimize your risk of a warrant being issued against you, don't display evidence of a crime outside of your own home. (And when the police come knocking on your door and politely ask you, "May we come in?", unless they flash a warrant in your face, don't be polite back.) And while IANAL, for more information about the 4th amendment and warrants as written by one, I strongly recommend you read The Illustrated Guide to Law. Very, very informative.

about 3 months ago
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Geographic Segregation By Education

Pollux Wrong conclusion... (230 comments)

The research shows a clear trend of the desirable cities becoming even more desirable, to the point where it's almost a necessity for city planners to lure college graduates or face decline.

I drew a different conclusion from this article. I know the article's focus was on attracting college graduates so that the city can prosper, but I instead considered the contrapositive: If a city is not prospering, then it has a lower-than-average percentage of college graduates. I see it as another confirmation of residential segregation.

More and more, there is becoming a "separate and not equal" divide in communities based on their socioeconomic status. As a teacher, I see it all the time in schools: there are some schools that leverage the taxpayer for new buildings, new technology, higher salaries, and less stressful work environments, while many others struggle due to an inability to levy. Instead of governments focusing on what to do about producing and/or attracting college graduates, perhaps it should instead consider what to do about the absence of them in their community.

about 3 months ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Pollux But now... (1330 comments)

Corporations are people too.

As in the Citizen's United case, this ruling is a complete perversion of constitutional rights on the American Public, and both as abominable as Plessy v. Ferguson. Here's the train of logic that the majority took:

1) Take a piece of legislation originally designed to protect sacred American Indian worship sites, though more broadly individual religious freedoms,
2) And extend those freedoms to corporations with this hocus-pocus incantation: "The purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees." (573 U.S. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Syllabus, pg. 3)

And while I was never a fan of Ginsburg in my younger years, given the recent evolution of the SCotUS, that opinion is rapidly changing, especially when she has this to say on the matter (573 U.S. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Ginsburg dissent, pg. 14):

Until this (Citizens United) litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law...the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities. As Chief Justice Marshall observed nearly two centuries ago, a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” (Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 636 [1819]).

Should just rewrite the Preamble of the Constitution now to read, "We the Corporations of the United States..."

about 4 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant

Pollux Re:If you have nothing to hide... (249 comments)

That is the exact argument that justifies a police state. Do you want a society where you can be searched at any time by the police to see if you're guilty of a crime, even when they do not have reasonable suspicion of you committing a crime? You, your parents, your friends, and everyone you know will always be treated as though you're guilty of something, and the police's job is just finding out what that something is.

about 4 months ago
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Former FCC Head: "We Should Be Ashamed of Ourselves" For State of Broadband

Pollux What's the point? (118 comments)

a group of internet industry executives and politicians came together...

Did this individual seriously believe he could make this audience of industry executives and politicians feel shame? What next? Will he tell a serial rapist to feel remorse? Will he tell a psychopathic murderer to feel empathy?

These people are incapable of feeling shame. It's what's made them so successful in the first place.

about 4 months ago
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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Pollux Re:Chicago Blackhawks too? (646 comments)

Actually the term "nigger" has become so offensive that just stating it is somehow offensive.

"Dear Momma -- Wherever you are, if you ever hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book." -- dedication written in the book Nigger, by Dick Gregory

Go ahead. Use the word. Advertise his book. (I've personally read it...good read, especially the 1st chapter.)

about 4 months ago
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Kingston and PNY Caught Bait-and-Switching Cheaper Components After Good Reviews

Pollux You're not thinking like a CEO... (289 comments)

That 20c saved isn't passed onto the customer. It's pocketed by the corporation.

Quality is no longer a characteristic business compete with. Why spend another 20c making a better product? It's the age of Amazon.com, and all anyone cares about is the lowest price. So, corporations have a new recipe for success:

1) Buy your competition to reduce competition.
2) Collude with your remaining competition so that everything is made in China and is sold at the same price.
3) Nickel & dime the consumer to maximize your profit.

By the time the business goes bankrupt due to piss-poor products and a loss of customer faith, the execs have already leached away all its capital. Once an exec makes it to the top, what incentive do they have to do what's best for the company or the consumer?

about 4 months ago
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The Ethics Cloud Over Ballmer's $2 Billion B-Ball Buy

Pollux Two-party recording laws (398 comments)

If you prefer to live in a state that requires two-party consent to record, be my guest.

Just don't ever complain if a police officer ever takes away your camera as they're beating you senseless. (In other words, when an injustice is being committed, you cannot expect the unjust to permit their acts to be made public. One-party consent states doesn't have this issue.)

about 5 months ago
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AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

Pollux Need to reconsider your hardware news sites... (345 comments)

According to xbitlabs, Kaveri has worse CPU performance than its predecessor.

AMD got lucky. It's found a dependable stream of revenue in game consoles. Better yet, no matter whether Microsoft or Sony wins the next generation console wars, both have AMD under the hood. Now that's hedging your bets. Whoever at AMD was in charge of negotiating these deals deserves a paid vacation to Necker Island with all the trimmings.

But lets get serious. AMD's current processors suck. And I hate saying that. A decade ago, AMD was the hero in the processor wars. If it wasn't for AMD, we'd be stuck with Rambus RAM, using Itanium processors, and have PCs running so hot we could cook breakfast on the case. But AMD's desktop processors are inefficient, almost two generations in fab technology behind Intel, and just cannot compete at any level.

Unlike 10-12 years ago, Intel's making great strides in microprocessor technology. It is thanks to AMD's competitiveness that Intel finally got its act together, and for that, I will always be thankful. If they can find a way to improve on Intel's product line, I'd be amazed at their comback. But do they really need to?

about 5 months ago
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UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released

Pollux Vicious Cycle (180 comments)

Killer robots, or fully autonomous weapons, do not yet exist but would be the next step after remote-controlled armed drones used by the US military today.

Weapons contractors make their living imagining new weapons, sharing their visions with the public, then advocating that the US Military develop those weapons to avoid "the enemy" from making them first. Then once the weapon is invented, new weapons need to be created to defend against the weapon that already exists. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And people wonder why so much money is spent on defense spending.

about 5 months ago
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Can You Tell the Difference? 4K Galaxy Note 3 vs. Canon 5D Mark III Video

Pollux No different than asking... (201 comments)

Can Joe Sixpack tell the difference between a $10 glass of house wine vs. a $100 glass of 1982 Chateau Gruaud Larose?

Besides, why would I use a DSLR to shoot video? Wrong tool for the job. That's like using a Ferrari to haul construction equipment or using an F-150 on racing day.

On the other hand, just try to use a smartphone to take pictures of fireworks at night or shoot a picture of your child making a layup at his basketball game in an indoor gym. Then tell me how the two compare.

about 6 months ago
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Phil Shapiro says 20,000 Teachers Should Unite to Spread Chromebooks (Video)

Pollux Wow, do you have it wrong (101 comments)

I work in a K-12 school setting. And let me be up front about it...Google is Evil Empire 2.0. I'm not a fan of signing over 1,000 students to Google so that they can harvest personal data and target ad services to them.

But nobody, absolutely nobody does a better job at KISS than Google. With Google Apps, school districts can now setup dumb-terminal-2.0s (i.e. Chromebooks) at $250 a pop, teach almost anybody how to administer the @school.k12.xx.us user domain, and no longer depend on specialized staff for server administration. Kids have access to their files at home, at school, on vacation, on their Chromebook, on their school computer, on their iPhone... nothing else comes even close to this level of simplicity and usability. And while Google Apps doesn't cut it for power users, it does exactly what it needs to do for the average student and teacher. And schools are signing up in droves.

You're smoking the FOSS pipe thinking that schools can and will be willing to pay for techs who know how to work with Apache, MySQL, et al. And the iPads haven't failed in LA. There's been a setback, but they're still being deployed. (Though I'm sure not a fan of Apple by any means, either. Root canals are more pleasant than administering iPads.)

And as far as getting people in schools who have a clue about technology, stop your ranting and talk to your local school board member. They represent public interests in your neighborhood school. And besides, in my community, our board members are expecting me to add more tablet technology into our K-12 schools. Why? Because they're convinced that's how kids learn these days. The only way they'll see otherwise is if they get educated by people such as yourselves.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

Journals

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Pollux Pollux writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I still have troubles spelling the word 'wit.' Of course, if I had comments enabled, I'm sure by now a mob of people less intelligent than I would try to drag me down to their level by flooding me with a deluge of posts regarding my incompetence.

But here's the great part about writing in a journal: I know journals get read, and I would bet the farm that they get read quite frequently. Everybody has an inner desire to develop a better familiarity with the "social realm", and /.'s only conduit for a social medium is through every wit posted to the forum. Since there's not much of a chance that anyone here will ever meet another /.er face-to-face (whatever happened to the /. meet-ups?), this is the only place where I can extend my arm, show you where to hang your hat, and sit you down on the back porch for a nice cup of coffee and my wife's sweet-and-sour chicken. But until that and delivering of beer over CAT-5 cable is made possible, let me be, I think, the first Slashdotter to say hello to you personally.

But what it all comes down to is this: we as people would (generally) prefer to isolate ourselves and live in peace and quiet rather than risk conflict by interacting with other members of our own human race. I see it on /. I see it in Egypt. I see it in the USA. And typically speaking, I find myself acting out in the same sort of way whenever someone gives me a chance in person to get to know them better.

And yet the irony of it all is that while we enjoy being left alone, we crave the attention of others.

Disagree with me? Then send me an email. Until then, I'll just keep writing entries about how people don't ever socialize with me.

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Pollux Pollux writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I can't believe it! Slashdot lets its users create journals! Wow...what do I write?

This is amazing. Imagine my surprise to find my own little personal haven here on the internet where I have it my way...completely my own way. The power of my own manifesto at my fingertips is mine for the taking! I can feel my heart pounding! My fingers shaking! My ego swelling!!!

BOW DOWN TO ME, PUNY MORTALS OF THE WORLD! I AM YOUR SUPERIOR INTELECTUAL BEING!

You will listen to my every whit, and marvel at my intelectual prowess. Your feeble, inferior, phantasmagorical intelects will adhere to my cosmolocial understanding of the mechanics of all existance! Every thought coursing through the infinite neurons crammed within my cranial chamber shall be revered and venerated with all honors and rewards found in every corner of the Earth.

BEHOLD ME!

-----

"I'm picking up on your sarcasm there."
"I'd hope so, 'cause I'm laying it on pretty thick."

And people wonder why Ted Kazynski was such a nutcase.

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