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Eric Holder Severely Limits Civil Forfeiture

RazorSharp Re:This was done so Republicans can criticize it.. (316 comments)

If you had read the actual article you'd know that several congressmen on both sides of the aisle are working to end the practice. I find it hard not to be cynical about many things that go on in the government but it's important to realize that sometimes the government (or, more specifically, people in the government who have the power to enact change) does things right, sometimes they change things for the better. This is one of those cases.

Does more need to be done? Absolutely. But Holder did what he could and now people like Grassly and Leahy are doing what they can to abolish this horrible practice. Personally, I'd like a Constitutional amendment that protects civilian property from arbitrary asset forfeiture by law enforcement, but that's not just going to pop up out of nowhere. Positive steps in the right direction make me optimistic.

about two weeks ago

Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

RazorSharp Re:Remember Final Cut Pro X? (598 comments)

as Apple is want to do

wont to do

Regarding the Final Cut issue -- it probably just wasn't worth it for Apple to keep up with producing a $1,000 piece of software when it was far from being an industry standard. "Desktop-class" is the key phase there. It was popular with indie films but that doesn't make it a cash cow for Apple. FCP X is suitable for the type of amateurs/indies Apple is targeting.

I don't think that Adobe is the type of company Apple should be emulating. The price of commodity software will always approach zero and Apple seems to be ahead of the game here. This is why they focus on selling hardware. It's just a matter of time before something like Gimp makes Photoshop worthless and some video editing software will render Premier worthless, too. This is probably why Lightworks is pretty much free now and the company rakes in their cash with the hardware associated with it.

There was a time when nobody believed that OpenOffice would supplant MS Office yet today very few home users pay for MS Office. Everyone I know who has MS Office has it because their employer paid for it. This wasn't true five years ago. Adobe's business plan is quickly becoming anachronistic and their whole cloud service thing won't keep them afloat in the future. Gimp has quite a bit of maturing to do to be a full-fledged Photoshop replacement but the foundation is there. I think it's smart of Apple to concentrate their software development in areas that will help them sell hardware than actually worry about selling software.

about three weeks ago

Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

RazorSharp Re:Enforcing pot laws is big business (484 comments)

empties jails and prisons of otherwise law abiding citizens that were only merely in possession or smoking a small amount of herb

Perhaps if you were in the prison business you'd make some significant campaign contributions to prevent this from happening. Or if you were part of a police union or prison guard union.

It's not a matter of how much money is being brought in by legalization or prohibition -- it's a matter of who benefits from that money.

about a month ago

Apple DRM Lawsuit Loses Last Plaintiff, but Judge Rules Against Dismissal

RazorSharp Re:Only in America... (71 comments)

You seem to be the one who needs to do a bit more reading on this case. The law firm created this suit because they wanted a huge payday from Apple -- so they used friends/family members who had iPods as their plaintiffs so they could create this class action lawsuit. Only problem is that their "plaintiffs" had the wrong iPods for their claims.

This law firm is just attempting to extort money from Apple. It's what they do -- create class action lawsuits so they can demand large fees as part of the settlement. Oftentimes the companies that are the target of these types of suits settle out of court because it's cheaper to be extorted than to defend themselves against the lawsuit. It's no different than those scummy lawyers who advertise on TV saying, "Do you have such and such problem? Did you buy such and such between these dates? If so, you could be entitled to serious compensation!" The truth of the matter is, if they win, you'll get minor compensation (which you probably don't deserve in the first place) and the lawyers will walk away with millions.

People tend to view corporation as villains so we tend to automatically side with the lawyers in these cases -- "serves them right" or something along those lines -- but frivolous lawsuits by scummy lawyers hurt everyone. Just look at the healthcare industry where costs continuously escalate year after year. Absurd class action suits like this one and patent troll suits hurt the tech industry, which hurts people who use technology.

about a month and a half ago

Billionaire Donors Lavish Millions On Code.org Crowdfunding Project

RazorSharp Re:Ballmer should have picked up a clipboard (84 comments)

While I enjoy much of Malcolm Gladwell's writing, I was able to answer the question presented in the subtitle without giving it much thought.

A non-stop full-court press gives weak basketball teams a chance against far stronger teams. Why have so few adopted it?

Because it requires a lot more endurance to pull off a full court press. You've got to get your entire team dedicated to jogging like a track team on their own time. Then they still have to learn to shoot, rebound, etc.

You can also out-strategize the press, as John Belein demonstrated a couple years back when Michigan absolutely crushed VCU in the NCAA tournament. The press is like the basketball equivalent of the triple option game that Georgia Tech and Air Force run. It's good when you're the only team running it and it throws opponents off-guard, but if people are ready for it they'll destroy it.

I love discussing sports strategy, but how is this relevant?

about 2 months ago

Bounties vs. Extreme Internet Harassment

RazorSharp Re:Sweet! (716 comments)

I'd start looking at Charliemopps (1157495) if I were you--just check some of Charlie's responses on this thread and see if you agree.

He seems to not think that making death threats is serious business.

I'm pretty sure it was Anonymous Coward. That guy says all sorts of crazy shit. Way to deflect attention away from yourself, but I'm on to you.

about 3 months ago

Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

RazorSharp Re:Why at a place of learning? (1007 comments)

Interesting, I did not say Science proved, I said Religion did not.

I thought you were implicitly saying that one did what you said the other did not. I still think that's what you meant and this post is backpedalling.

Science does not require belief.

The whole point of my syllogism was to demonstrate that science does require belief.

Belief is acceptance of something that is not provable.

This is not what my dictionary says, but even if it did, I don't think it invalidates my syllogism. Nothing is provable, which is why knowledge is defined as justified true belief rather than "what can be proved" or something of that sort.

The closest science has to belief is to "postulate", in other words, "If we assume this is true, then...".

If you assume something is true then you believe it.

Religious is under no such requirement and can make statements about things with no more rational thought that "we say so"

Scientists are under no such requirements if they don't care about being taken seriously. A biochemist with a Ph.D tried to sell me a Kangan water machine and gave me some elaborate scientific mumbo jumbo about its benefits. Is it a problem that bogus, irrational religions are so popular? I think so. But I also think that it's a problem that my girlfriend thinks that vitamins can cure ailments because some doctor is quoted on the bottle or that organic foods are better for her because science.

It's not science or religion that is bad and pitting the two against each other is a false dichotomy that distracts people from the real problem: poor logic. Poor logic begets poor science, poor logic begets poor religion.

about 3 months ago

Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

RazorSharp Re:Why at a place of learning? (1007 comments)

1) Knowledge is justified true belief

2) Science is a method of obtaining knowledge by means of empirical observation.

> Science must involve belief.

Also, it tends to be poor form in science to use the word 'prove.' A scientific experiment may show strong evidence for something but one can never be positive beyond any doubt that all the controls were properly accounted for and the experiment actually demonstrated the hypothesis it was based upon. So it might be better stated that "science does not prove."

I'm not trying to excuse the whole creationism thing, I just found your post to contain some sloppy logic. If you resort to unsound/fallacious logic to criticize the creationists your argument is no better than the ones they espouse.

about 3 months ago

The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

RazorSharp Re:This Yeti/Area-51/LochNess story just won't die (200 comments)

Your thought process here is completely backwards. NASA's goal with the space missions was to get people into space and back to earth. This was not easy and required extremely capable individuals to carry out this mission. Had NASA wanted to ensure that both men and women were sent into space in the name of equality they would have had to delay the mission for several decades. This was because of the social conditions in the United States and you can harp on how terrible that was all you want, but that was a reality that had to be dealt with at the time. In the 50s you had a woman here or there who stood out at something or the other, but I sincerely doubt they could have found one who both met all the qualifications required of the program and also wanted to participate. This was only thirty years after women had acquired the right to vote. There weren't many (any) female military trained pilots who were also accomplished engineers and were in near perfect physical condition. Not even Jerrie Cobb. It's not because women lacked the potential, it's because society was not yet structured in such a way that they could realize that potential.

You can call 1950s American society sexist and you'd be right. Of course, no one would care and there's nothing controversial about that statement. Calling NASA sexist for existing in the 1950s is just dumb.

about 3 months ago

The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

RazorSharp Re:All about perception (200 comments)

You're being pedantic. The statement "men can run faster than women" has implicit meanings which you are ignoring -- namely that the best male runners will always outperform the best female runners. This is demonstrated empirically every four years with the summer olympics.

I agree with some of the sentiments of your original post -- there's a huge variation in the human population and we should be careful to be aware of this so we don't presume in favor of the average (lefties know how that feels); but I think we also have a tendency to go in the opposite direction in the name of equality and use outliers to represent the whole when they clearly do not.

about 3 months ago

Microsoft Gearing Up To Release a Smartwatch of Its Own

RazorSharp Re:I can already see it (172 comments)

And of course it runs Office using voice-recognition dictation.

about 3 months ago

2014 Nobel Prize In Physics Awarded To the Inventors of the Blue LED

RazorSharp Re:"LEDs contribute to saving the Earth's resource (243 comments)

The key part of the phrase which is so often overlooked in "laws/effects/rules" such as this is "tends to." I think that LEDs replacing CFLs is one of those cases that would clearly be an exception to this rule. I'm not going to light up my house like a Christmas tree because LEDs have some efficiency gains over CFLs.

The argument that an increase in lighting efficiency would increase the demand for lighting just doesn't make sense in a society where no one is deprived of lighting because it's outside of their means. The efficiency gains of using LEDs aren't so great that my electric bill is going to significantly drop -- but they are great enough that total electricity consumption throughout the country will (which would mean less coal burned).

From the article you linked:

This argument is usually presented as a reason not to impose environmental policies, or to increase fuel efficiency (e.g. if cars are more efficient, it will simply lead to more driving).[7][8] Several points have been raised against this argument. First, in the context of a mature market such as for oil in developed countries, the direct rebound effect is usually small, and so increased fuel efficiency usually reduces resource use, other conditions remaining constant.[6][9][10] Second, even if increased efficiency does not reduce the total amount of fuel used, there remain other benefits associated with improved efficiency.

about 4 months ago

Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

RazorSharp Re:Microsoft can now kill Java (330 comments)

Microsoft was still the second largest developer of software for Mac

I think that statements like this are funny. It's so ambiguous that it's meaningless without more specifics. Do you mean second largest company that develops software for Mac? The company that develops the second most amount of software for Mac? The company that has the second most amount of Mac developers? Or the company that makes the second most amount of money by selling Mac software?

It really puts into perspective how dependent Microsoft is on Office. If they dropped Office for Mac it would probably accelerate the death of Office and destroy one of the key pillars to their business. They don't develop Office for Mac because there's money to be made in that market, as your post implies. As a software company, they could be making software for iOS if that was how they operated. Office for Mac still exists because it's necessary to keep Office alive. It's the same reason that they didn't make Skype exclusive to Windows when they bought it--making Skype a Windows exclusive would kill it.

about 4 months ago

L.A. Times National Security Reporter Cleared Stories With CIA Before Publishing

RazorSharp Re:A little scary (188 comments)

The government (when it's law abiding) doesn't get to target people just because they don't like what they are saying.

1) I argued the exact opposite of this. The Tea Party people made themselves targets by what they said, yes, but that's not unreasonable. If you started a group called "The Timothy McVeigh Foundation" it wouldn't be unreasonable for the FBI to investigate this group.

2) Neither the First nor Fourth Amendment rights of the Tea Party organization were violated by the IRS. They scrutinized a group that warranted scrutiny. They didn't kick in any doors or censor anyone.

about 5 months ago

AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

RazorSharp Not what their website said (533 comments)

On their websites they tried to encourage users to pay for the higher speed connections by saying they provide the speeds necessary for streaming video, video conferencing, and video games.

Interestingly enough, I checked to make sure I wasn't putting my foot in my mouth and it appears AT&T changed the way they advertise broadband on their site. I guess they were smart enough to change it so they don't look like giant hypocrites but that's clearly the way they had it set up less than a year ago when I was shopping around for an ISP. It now shows all the tiers and how many seconds it takes for "YouTube, MP3, Video" but it previously showed the lower tier and gave examples of what it could do (Facebook, browse basic internet sites), then the middle tier (stream music, YouTube), and the high tier (video chat, video games, stream HD content). It was a load of shit b/c you could do all those high tier things with the middle tier and probably even the low tier, but I find it interesting they've changed their tune.

about 5 months ago

L.A. Times National Security Reporter Cleared Stories With CIA Before Publishing

RazorSharp Re:A little scary (188 comments)

I don't think the IRS was looking at it from a partisan point of view and I doubt the president's administration had anything to do with it. When a group vociferously decries taxes and names themselves after an anti-tax insurrection, it only makes sense that the IRS would scrutinize them. It's no different than if the ATF were to scrutinize the NRA. I'm sure the NRA would love it, just as the Tea Party loves the IRS "scandal." It gives them an excuse to play the victim card and make a lot of noise in the press.

about 5 months ago

Of the following, I'd rather play ...

RazorSharp Euchre (274 comments)

I'm from the midwest you insensitive clod!

And why's checkers listed? Might as well list tick-tack-toe or Connect Four. Games that result in a stalemate 100% of the time when the players are competent aren't exactly nerd games.

about 5 months ago

Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

RazorSharp Re:let me correct that for you. (619 comments)

I don't think he was trying to ignore the "icky parts." His point was that this whole study/article fails to acknowledge the nuance behind the word "socialism." Calling West Germany capitalist and East Germany socialist is an incorrect simplification that reeks of bias and circular logic (in fact, the study's abstract so obviously demonstrated this I felt no need to read further. . .then did anyway to confirm my assumptions).

There are obvious flaws with the study:

1) The jump associating the results of west Germans/east Germans to capitalists/socialists. They had a couple hundred participants, hardly enough to even be conclusive about just the attitudes of Germans, yet they still make this jump.

2) Considering the small sample size, it's likely that increasing the sample size will regress the results towards the mean. Perhaps that means that east Germans are even more likely to cheat, but that's irrelevant. The point is that the study isn't comprehensive enough to be conclusive.

Using an abstract die-rolling task, we found evidence that East Germans who were exposed to socialism cheat more than West Germans who were exposed to capitalism.

To me this sentence really highlights what shoddy scientists these guys are. Of course, they're sociologists, so I guess that's to be expected. I could probably rip the methodology apart, too, but that'd be a waste of time.

about 6 months ago

Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

RazorSharp Re:But people forget what MENSA concluded (561 comments)

While I find your comments interesting and I think there's some truth in there, I think it's ridiculous to assert that all intelligent people should be tinkerers, builders, and tech-oriented. I think one of the reasons that we have so many idiots in management and politics is that when a kid is good at math we steer them toward engineering whether it's something they actually enjoy or not. One of the most appealing things about non-engineering fields to a lot of people is that they can side-step intense math courses. For instance, I was appalled to learn that my girlfriend's nursing program required no more than a basic algebra course and bio/chemistry 101. After that pretty much everything was nursing specific like A&P and pharmaceuticals.

Mathematics is a pure logical exercise that has value beyond working with numbers.

if you have an IQ of 150-170 and are not doing your own research or tinkering to come up with something new, you are wasting your brain.

Perhaps this falls under the "something new" category, but Michael Crichton wrote some pretty damn good books and he went to Harvard Medical School. Neil deGrasse Tyson is pretty brilliant and his main occupation is that of a pop figure who teaches and evangelizes science. Nate Silver uses his intelligence to predict the outcomes of sporting events. Okay, maybe that last one wasn't the greatest example.

My point is that it would greatly benefit society if companies were run by people who understood more than ROI, if politicians did more than play a social game with one another, and if educators weren't limited to their speciality. I can understand wagging the finger at those who don't contribute to society, but I interpreted your post as saying that contributing to technology and industry is the only way.

I think IQ is an irrelevant measurement. When it comes to mathematics, I think it's a failure of our education system that we allow students to graduate (both high school and college) without a strong foundation in that subject. The same goes for biology and chemistry. Every day I'm confronted by people who believe the most inane things because they don't have a basic understanding of biology or chemistry. But now I'm just ranting.

about 7 months ago



Wozniak Discusses Technology

RazorSharp RazorSharp writes  |  more than 4 years ago

RazorSharp (1418697) writes "Woz speaks of the digital age and where it may be taking us. CNN tries to throw a distopian spin on his words with a rather sensational headline: Steve Wozniak: "We've lost a lot of control." But this is no Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" as the headline implies; it's just Woz, as usual, speaking his mind on various tech subjects."
Link to Original Source


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