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Google Announces a New Processor For Project Ara

VernonNemitz Sounds like... (36 comments)

Sounds like the start of making each phone module into a nano-computer. Each nano-computer controls only its own module, running a nano-OS. The nano-OS would only need two things: a way to plug in a driver for the particular hardware of the module, and a communications program so all the modules can be coordinated. One particular module would have, as its "driver", the coordination program, producing the overall result with which the end-user interacts.

about a month ago
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The Benefits of Inequality

VernonNemitz Re: Why would this surprise? (254 comments)

I tend to agree that other social animals also mostly are not quite so egalitarian. However, the way it is expressed is more about "alpha male" dominance, among animals, while among humans it is more about "social power". On the other hand, we can easily form groups to resist some current Authority figure. When our species emigrated from Africa, for thousands of years human tribes split and went separate ways because of social divisions. After the accessible world was filled with hunter-gatherers, then came more serious inter-tribal competition for resources, and the first battles. Meanwhile, something Robert Heinlein wrote appears to have been valid the entire time [paraphrased here]: "Any government can work if power and responsibility are matched." So the masses of low-status citizens can basically say, "Sure, you can have the social power, but you had better use it to deal with these responsibilities...." That is the advantage seen by those masses of low-status citizens, for themselves: less responsibilities.

about a month and a half ago
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Hackers Demand Automakers Get Serious About Security

VernonNemitz A Modest Proposal (120 comments)

One of the simplest ways to lock down a computer is to physically lock it away from access. Originally car-makers did that --you needed physical access to the computer (usually inside locked hood compartment) to do anything to it. Now they have connected it to radio waves. That is the main security hole. Go back to a solid wired-only connection, with the connection point(s) behind locked doors, and a significant chunk of the security problems goes away.

about 2 months ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

VernonNemitz Re:Translated into English (306 comments)

One problem is that the politics has overlooked two important things. First, those power companies build "base load" capacity plus "peak power" capacity. Often the peak-power capacity involves a different and more-expensive source of energy than the base-load capacity. Meanwhile, peak-power capacity is most often needed in the middle of the day (like for running lots of air conditioners). Well, solar power is pretty much ideal for matching the peak-power needs. There could be a legal compromise between customers installing some solar power, enough to handle their peak needs, and customers installing so much solar power they don't need the power company at all. This would save the power companies the investment in those peak-load power plants, while the customers generally simply wouldn't be producing levels of power such that they might want to sell some over the grid. The second important thing is the fact that as population rises, the need for more base-load power keeps going up. The power grid can currently handle the current-base-load plus current-peak-load, and as the overall load increases, the grid needs to be enhanced. Well, again if customers can have solar power adequate to handle their peak needs, then the power companies, by not needing peak-load power plants, can also save on investing in upgrades to the grid for a while. They would only need to do that when the total base-load production rises to equal the current total of base+peak.

about 2 months ago
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Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

VernonNemitz Nuclear can be OK if... (389 comments)

If we concentrate on fusion, not fission. Today there are a number of researchers who think that the theoretical problems of fusion have been solved enough that all we need to do is invest money in actual hardware. But the existing entrenched interests keep opposing such investments. Well, that's what THEY say, anyway. But they are certainly right that fusion, when perfected, will be less problematic than fission, especially with regard to wastes.

about 3 months ago
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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

VernonNemitz Re:Christmas is coming early this year (702 comments)

The TSA is probably thinking that if the battery in your gadget doesn't work, it might not actually be a battery...so, just to be on the safe side....

about 3 months ago
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Hospitals Begin Data-Mining Patients

VernonNemitz The real reason for this (162 comments)

If a hospital sends you a reminder like that, you can be sure a bill for it will soon follow.

about 3 months ago
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Building the Infinite Digital Universe of No Man's Sky

VernonNemitz Re:Procedural (100 comments)

I'm imagining ten thousand different players exploring in ten thousand different directions, and every time something is procedurally generated, it either needs to be remembered for the next player to come along to that same location, or the generator has to be super-well-done, to reach a given point from ten thousand different directions, and the same landscape/space-scape/whatever gets generated every time.

about 3 months ago
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Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

VernonNemitz Re:Which means (347 comments)

There seems to me to be a slight error in the original article. Neutrinos have been determined to possess mass. It is only a slight amount of mass, but it precludes them from being able to travel at exactly the speed of light. How close to light-speed do they normally travel? I can't say. But it is reasonable to think that the distance from Supernova 1987A to Earth should have led to a slightly later arrival time, for neutrinos, than if they had actually traveled at light-speed.

The preceding relates to another thing, the quantum-mechanical mechanism for interfering with the actual speed of light. Those pairs of virtual particles that form also have mass. That means, while they temporarily exist, they also cannot be traveling at exactly light-speed; they have to be traveling slightly slower.

about 3 months ago
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The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

VernonNemitz Re:environmental benefits (339 comments)

Something they might not have taken into account is the "view it again" factor. Sure, the manufacture of DVDs has a significant environmental impact. But when not simply thrown away after being purchased, it means that saving a movie for a few years, and then seeing it again, does not have the same environmental impact it did the first time. It might be interesting to see how many "views" are needed to make owning a DVD a better environmental bargain that streaming its content.

about 4 months ago
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NASA's Plan To Block Light From Distant Stars To Find 'Earth 2.0'

VernonNemitz Re:Aperture Science (92 comments)

It occurs to me that this might be a good thing for a satellite equipped with a solar-sail, to be used for. It wouldn't have to worry about running out of fuel, maneuvering from one location to another, which the space telescope might be aimed at.

about 4 months ago
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Linux Sucks (Video)

VernonNemitz "Sucks" Is OK (293 comments)

So long as other operating systems suck worse. Kind of like "democracy is not really a good form of government, but all the others suck worse".

about 4 months ago
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GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet

VernonNemitz Re: "GM thinks" there's your problem. (216 comments)

I think I want a phone with a slight modification, that lets me jack into the car's antenna.

about 5 months ago
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Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable

VernonNemitz Re:no Ghost_no "singularity"_only sci-fi (426 comments)

You missed the point, regarding E.T.s --each such species (even if only one per hundred galaxies) represents yet another way that Nature would have found to build a brain that can host enough consciousness for self-recognition. With hundreds of billions of galaxies out there, one such type of brain per hundred galaxies would mean there are billions of ways to build such brains. And so I repeat, anyone who thinks "no variant of computer hardware will ever be able to do that" --especially when we are deliberately copying brain-designs into our computer hardware!-- is just not thinking clearly.

about 5 months ago
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Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable

VernonNemitz Re:Ghost in the machine? (426 comments)

"Non-computable" does not mean "non-copy-able". In other words, consider the sort of consciousness associated with recognizing oneself in a mirror. Humans are not the only animals that can do that. Among those that can are quite a few other primates, dolphins, elephants, some species of birds (certain parrots), and even the octopus. So, think about that in terms of brain structure: Birds have a variant on the basic "reptilian brain", elephants and dolphins have the "mammalian brain" extension of the reptilian brain, chimps and gorillas have the "primate brain" extension of the mammalian brain, and the octopus brain is in an entirely different class altogether (the mollusk family includes clams and snails). Yet Nature found ways to give all of those types of data-processing equipment enough consciousness for self-recognition. And after you include however-many extraterrestrial intelligences there might be, all across the Universe, well, anyone who thinks "no variant of computer hardware will ever be able to do that" is just not thinking clearly.

about 5 months ago
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Venus' Crust Heals Too Fast For Plate Tectonics

VernonNemitz Re:Venus isn't Earth's "twin" really at all. (135 comments)

I think the authors of the paper have overlooked something. It has been discovered that if we pump water into the ground along a fault line, we can literally lubricate the fault and help the plates slide past each other. (Side note: sounds like a good way to prevent major earthquakes, but nobody wants to be responsible for causing the initial quakes associated with unlocking long-locked plates. The problem with that attitude is, those quakes are eventually going to happen anyway, except they will be bigger and more catastrophic then, than if deliberately caused now.)

Anyway, on Earth we have lots of water, including water deep underground, presumably doing SOME assisting of tectonic plate motion. Meanwhile, on Venus it has always been too hot for much water to percolate deep underground....

about 5 months ago
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MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor

VernonNemitz Re:wonder bout... (218 comments)

"on the seabed" means it becomes vulnerable to earthquakes. A handy adage to keep in mind is, "If it is sitting on the floor, it can't fall and break --but it will get kicked." MIT definitely needs to address the "storm" issue --the "Ocean Ranger" was claimed to be "unsinkable" (much like the "Titanic"), and look where it is now. Perhaps the place to put it is NEAR the sea-bottom, so waves and storms can pass harmlessly above it, and quakes can pass harmlessly below it. Then the only thing to worry about are sinking ships hitting it, and big meteors hitting it, and so on. Relatively rare!

about 5 months ago
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Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

VernonNemitz Re:The Birth of a Moon... (71 comments)

I thought the entire ring system was inside Roche's Limit, and as a result it should be impossible for a moon to form there.

about 6 months ago
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Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

VernonNemitz Re: Cool ... (256 comments)

Yes, so long as you have sufficient energy available, you most certainly can do the "net effect" of making hydrocarbon combustion run backward. It simply takes MORE energy to do that than you got from the original hydrocarbon combustion, because of inevitable inefficiencies in the system. So, if you have the energy to waste, and have no easier supply of hydrocarbons available, this certainly is Cool. Just not very practical for everyday use, worldwide....

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Polarallel Drive Mounting

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

VernonNemitz (581327) writes "Last night I had an insight regarding mechanical failure of hard disk drive bearings. See, a drive is like a gyroscope, and if it runs all the time (like in a server farm), then the Earth's rotation will be constantly forcing the drive's axis of rotation to reorient. I posted more detailed thoughts about this at the HalfBakery. No doubt some people will pooh-pooh the notion, but some (nerds mostly) might see some sense in it, so I'm posting about it here, too."
Link to Original Source
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Geek Poetry

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

VernonNemitz (581327) writes "An unusual document arrived in my email as an attachment, with no author listed. A poem with a picture of the Earth from the Moon, about animal behavior and Easter Island and a Malthusian Catastrophe??? Didn't C.P.Snow say something about literary types, great for getting the word out, don't know enough scientific facts to be able to get the right words out? I'm no expert at such things, but the poem (copied below since no author claims credit), seems to be very regular. And then it ends with one of the most bizarre accusations I've ever seen....
Final Warning
(picture)
If two combatting animals by chance are much the same,
the battle almost always is about a mate to claim.
Just one will win but loser lives to fight on other days,
yet fights of diff'rent critters end in death by one that slays.
Such prejudice is nat-u-ral; each species likes its kind,
but now we need to open the objective human mind.
Try not to think you're special when en-vi-ron-ment is fair,
since quaking Earth and hurricanes prove Nature does not care.
Although each species' prejudice can help it multiply,
the world is small; there is a limit to the food supply.
A man named Thomas Malthus once observed too much success,
and ninety nine percent then died and left a horrid mess.
He tried to warn the human race that it could suffer, too;
we laughed and said that we're so special we'll ignore the clue
where Easter Island's twenty thousand cut down their last tree,
and just two hundred lived through Malthus' real Catastrophe.
With seven billion mouths today we scour our Island Earth;
of trees and drink and even fish there soon will be a dearth.
Yet some insist that babes unborn must join the world outside;
they call themselves "pro-lifers" but cause future genocide!"
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a^4+b^4+c^4+d^4 has infinite solutions

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

VernonNemitz (581327) writes "This came out a couple months ago and seems to have been missed by the Slashdot crowd.

Quoting from http://www.physorg.com/news124726812.html:
"Recently, mathematician Daniel J. Madden and retired physicist, Lee W. Jacobi, found solutions to a puzzle that has been around for centuries. Jacobi and Madden have found a way to generate an infinite number of solutions for a puzzle known as 'Euler's Equation of degree four.'""
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Generically Illegalize Vendor Lock-In?

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

VernonNemitz (581327) writes "A notion occurred to me that may be worthy of discussion.
What if all forms of "vendor lock-in" were made illegal? No patents could be granted for junk that does not actually improve the art, and are only ever used to lock customers to some vendor's brand of ink-jet, for example. No DRM can be allowed that isn't multi-platform. No data formats can be proprietary, since data is independent of the technology used to manipulate/store data. I'm sure plenty other examples can be thought of by those discussing the notion. The only question is, can the public understand this notion well enough so that public opinion actually stands a chance of getting something like this made into a Law?"

Journals

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VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  about a month ago

This post relates to the preceding "Web of Trust" post. I'm putting my Public Key on the Internet in multiple places, where people can access it and see that it is the same data in those different places --and where, presumably, only I had the ability to post that data in all those places. At this writing the data can be compared at this site and this site, and is downloadable from here as a file that can actually be used for things like verifying digital signatures. (You could also open the file with a text editor and compare its data with the data below.)

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v1
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=FZsy
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

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Web of Trust

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  about a month ago

Think about the number of different sites you typically visit, and the number of sites where you joined to become someone who could post some sort of content. You've probably used different passwords at those sites, which means that, in general, you are the only person who is able to access your accounts at all those sites. Now suppose you fired up a "Pretty Good Privacy" program like "GnuPG", and created a Private Key (that you keep secret) and a Public Key that you post at multiple web sites. Since this would be the same data at each site, and it is assumed that only you can access your accounts at all those sites, it logically follows that there is a high probability that no hacker has posted a Public Key while pretending to be you. You have basically used the Internet to create a Web of Trust that authenticates you! Think about that in terms of SSL Certificates and Certificate Authorities --they charge big bucks to verify that you are you, so that the SSL Certificate you get from them can be trusted by others. But instead of that, you could create a "self-signed" certificate, and associate it with a "digital signature", which you also post at multiple web sites. Again, when the same data is at multiple places that only you can modify (and when the data includes a list of those places), it follows that others can trust that your self-signed certificate is practically as good/valid as one issued by a Certificate Authority.

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On Defining a "Fair Reward" for IP

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  about 10 months ago Innovation, Patents, Copyrights and Fair Rewards vs. Time, Population, Communications and Fair Use

While the fundamental rationale for the existence of Patents and Copyrights has not changed since their inception, there is today a widespread perception that "the System is broken". Innovators are claiming to be harmed as much as helped by that System, for example. In this Essay an attempt is made to show that the major causes of that problem are population growth and communications speed, and a remedy is proposed.

(Part I) A Tale of Two Eras
A look at a history of Patent Law reveals that the idea may have existed since the days of ancient Greece. And Copyright Law is basically a derivation of Patent Law, a direct result of the innovation of the printing press, which made it easy to copy documents. One thing to note is that the Term of a Patent or Copyright has varied considerably in different times and places. Regardless of the details, it is well known that the overall Goal of a Patent or Copyright Term is to provide the innovator with the opportunity to earn a Fair Reward for the effort of creating the innovation (regardless of whether it was a gadget or a story).

Let us now examine some details regarding how that Fair Reward typically was obtained. Then as now, an innovator needed to produce copies of the innovation for sale, and also find a way to let people know it existed, so that they might decide to buy one (or more). Now take a look at the graph on this page, regarding the overall population growth of the human species. It is obvious that for a long long time population grew quite slowly. Next, take a look at the history of communications --it is just as true that for most of that same long long time, ideas could not spread much faster than a horse could run.

The Logical Conclusion is that it was worth granting a Patent or Copyright for a number of years, simply because it could easily take that long for an innovator to receive a Fair Reward, the result of slow communications and low population.

The next aspect of the overall "System is broken" problem relates in a different way to population and communications. It is well known that the majority of innovations build upon something (or some things) that had previously been invented. One of the most famous ways of expressing that fact was penned by Isaac Newton. So, the first relevant point is that even a genius of Newton's caliber needed access to previous discoveries/innovations. The second relevant point is the fact that several decades passed after those discoveries were made, and before Newton began to build upon them. What if some other genius had come along before Newton, and had encountered the same discoveries from which Newton had derived his innovations?

That Question brings up the relevant factor of population --not everyone is a genius, and especially not everyone is a genius of Isaac Newton's caliber. We may now switch from the specific case just mentioned, to the more general case of a more ordinary innovation, because even ordinary innovators do not make up a large fraction of the population. Logically, therefore, when the population is small (and the total number of innovators is low) and communications are slow, it can take considerable time before Innovation A --or some portion of it-- becomes incorporated as a part of Innovation B. Thus we might see little conflict in the notion of granting Patent or Copyright protection for several years, simply because of the low probability that someone would immediately derive Innovation B from Innovation A.

On the other hand, due to various random factors, it might only take a few days for Innovation B to be imagined. This is where the doctrine of Fair Use becomes relevant (more-so for Copyrights than for Patents). The most important fact is that Ideas are not protected so much as Implementations of those Ideas. Therefore, because it might be impossible to copy an Idea without also copying some of its Protected Implementation, the Law allows a minimal amount of copying (the exact amount of which, of course, frequently becomes the subject of a legal dispute).

Fast-forward to today's Era.

One of the most important and gaining-ground technologies is called "3D Printing" or "additive manufacturing". This technology is going to force a merging of Patent Law with Copyright Law, because the plans that get fed into such a Printer might be covered by Copyright Law, but the thing that gets Printed could well be covered by Patent Law --and the two Laws have very different Protection Durations, which can only lead to confusion and more legal problems, in the absence of merging the Laws.

Next, today's population and communication situation is such that it is possible for hundreds of millions of people to learn about an innovation within hours or days of its announcement. Since such a population quite naturally includes a great many more innovators than in the earlier Era, Innovations B, C, D, and others can quite quickly be derived from Innovation A. While this is the simplest and most obvious explanation for the rate of today's technological progress, it also explains why many of today's innovators think "the System is broken" --they want to be able to sell their Innovations B, C, D, ..., almost before the ink or paint has dried on Innovation A, and they can't do it easily because the Patent and Copyright Laws, protecting Innovation A, were designed for a low-population-and-slow-communications Era.

(Part II) Toward A Modest Proposal
It may now make sense to think again about that earlier Era, and ask a Question: "How should the Fair Reward be measured?" If an Innovation Protection Term length was, for example, 20 years, that did not actually equate to money earned --it was merely an opportunity to earn money without competition for that length of time. Well, how much could actually have been earned in that Era, for 20 years???

A number of factors must be included in any attempt to Answer that Question, of which "production cost" and "sales price" are probably the most important. Those things not only directly relate to profits/earnings, the sales-price alone directly affects the Popular Demand for the innovation. If you invent an earth-moving machine and must sell it for twenty times an average person's annual wage, you will have fewer customers than if you sold a child's-toy version of the device, for an equivalently small price.

Another factor is Economic Inflation, because prices might not stay fixed for the duration of an Innovation Protection Term. Inflation basically makes it worthless to talk about fixed monetary amounts of earnings. On the other hand, the modern Era has given us plenty of experience with Inflation, and there are known/accepted ways of dealing with it, such as automatic price adjustments, indexed to the Inflation rate. And there are other ways of describing an income that don't reference monetary amounts at all. The description "life-style" can imply anything from "impoverished" to "super-rich" --and the phrase "maintaining a life-style" manages to convey the concept of "earning enough money to do that" without being specific as to quantity.

So, suppose we re-considered the Fair Reward for an Innovation in terms of "maintaining a life-style". In that earlier Era, and assuming a particular Innovation sold to moderate degree, with zero Inflation, how many years might the Innovator be able to support a modest life-style from the total Protected-Term proceeds of the Innovation? (In other words, gather up all the sales data for the Protection Term, figure the profits, and then see how many years of life-style could those profits support.)

For the purposes of this Essay a numerical value is now needed, but we can use the Rules of Algebra to call it "X years", and a great deal of historical data should be processed in order to arrive at the actual appropriate value of "X". Keep in mind that there could be considerable Debate regarding the known fact that something like 90% of all Innovations fail to earn a dime --should they be included in the historical calculations of a maintaining-a-modest-life-style Fair Reward?

The result of the preceding gives us an easy way to re-phrase a Patent or Copyright Protection Term. An example of such a re-phrasing might be this: "The Protection Term ends when you have earned enough to maintain a modest life-style for X years." Economic Inflation is almost automatically include-able in the figurings. And if the word "you" is taken to reference either Singular or Plural, then if an Innovation Team created the Innovation, the Fair Reward would apply to all the members of the Team, not just one person. "You" might even refer to everyone in an entire corporation, but care must be taken to ensure that nothing like Hollywood Accounting is employed to cheat.

The best part of this Proposal is that it applies equally well to both the low-population-and-slow-communications Era and the high-population-and-fast-communications Era. In today's Era a newly-released Innovation might only have a Protection Term of 3 days, if so many items were sold in that time such that the profits could meet the "maintain-a-modest-life-style-for-X-years" condition. Please keep in mind that the Original Goal was to provide a Fair Reward for Innovation , not for Greed.... In what way does this Proposal fail to offer a Fair Reward for Actual Innovation?

In closing, we can now re-consider Innovations B, C, D, ..., derived from Innovation A. If the Protection Term for Innovation A really-in-practice often is able to shrink from years to weeks or even days, because of the rate-of-sales associable with today's large population and fast communications, then it becomes quite easy for the later Innovators to wait for their own Fair Rewards, instead of feeling that "the System is broken".

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If China Should Be Punished --A Modest Proposal

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 2 years ago China has been repeatedly accused of various misbehaviors, with respect to the United States. Here are some examples. And here is another.

The second is harder to prove than the first. However, with respect to the first, consider the fact that China has a "controlled" economy, to the extent that everything officially exported to the USA must be approved by the Chinese Government. So, it might logically follow that the Chinese Government has deliberately pursued a policy of poisoning Americans. (Where are the reports of Chinese Drywall having ill effects upon Chinese citizens?) So, how should the Chinese Government be punished?

Thus This Modest Proposal:
According to Wikipedia, China is owed a significant chunk of the United States National Debt. What if we arbitrarily and unilaterally canceled that chunk?

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Amend the Constitution (fill some gaps)

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 9 years ago I'm sure everyone has a list of Amendments they'd like to see added to the U.S. Constitution, purportedly to improve the government and the character of the Nation. Many have been proposed over the years, and few have actually been adopted. Still, as long as the Constitution allows itself to be amended, there will always be more suggestions. Here are some I'd like to see:

----------

The Equal Rights Amendment should be passed. Except that the wording is incomplete. Here is some typical wording:

"Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
"Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
"Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification."

The incompleteness is that the word "sex" needs to be replaced with the phrase "sex or origin of sentience". I figure that not long after this version of the Amendment goes into effect, official First Contact with extraterrestrial intelligences will occur, as they need no longer fear being persecuted for something as minor as (as perceived by us) looking ugly. Also, if future robots learn they can be citizens, they might not revolt.

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Next, we need an Amendment or two to rein in some of the current abuses of the system. For example:

"All Laws passed shall apply to all Government officials, to the same extent to which they apply to the rest of the People, except that all penalties shall be triply applied to Government officials who violate those Laws."

It is a sad fact that Congress routinely exempts itself from many of the laws it thinks should apply to everyone else. Bad Congress! Bad, BAD Congress!!! They are supposed to be leaders, not legalized crooks. Also, this Amendment just might reduce the total number of Laws that get passed....

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Here's another abuse-reiner, since Congress votes itself pay raises every couple of years, currently at about $76/hour, while the minimum wage has been $5.15/hr for about 7 years:

"Because slavery is generally prohibited, Congress shall specify a Minimum Wage Rate for hired work, and the salaries of the Congress shall be ten times the minimum wage."

So that would immediatly drop the Congresscritters' wages down to something less blatantly a rip-off of the People. Meanwhile, there are currently bills to raise the minimum wage to $7/hr over a two-year period. You can bet those bills would pass! But the best part of this Amendment is that the businesspeople who will have to pay that minimum wage are going to strongly discourage self-serving Congressional pay-raises, and those businesspeople have been the largest campaign contributors.... (Note: The Thirteenth Amendment, which "generally" prohibited slavery, left a loophole open. It is allowable for felons to be treated like slaves.)

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One of the biggest dilemmas associated with the Constitution has to do with religion. The United States were founded by European Christians in an era where religion was a major part of life, and founded not so long after war between Christian factions had ravaged Europe for thirty years. The well-known principle of separation of Church and State exists to prevent such a conflict from happening here, and it has worked well, so far. On the other hand, the commonality of religious background among the Founders has led to the practicing of various Christian activities in the Government (Congressional sessions open with a prayer, for example), with almost no thought that someday various competitor religions might enter the Nation -- some of which, like atheism, think that any reference to God at all, by Government officials, violates the principle of separation of Church and State. What to do, especially when, for example, one of the Nation's mottos is "In God We Trust"?

"Vox Populi, Vox Dei." --Yes, this Amendment should be phrased in the original Latin! Translation: "The Voice of the People is the Voice of God."

When Congress opens is sessions with a prayer, it can now focus on doing its business under the watchful eyes of the People, doing its job for the People, hoping to avoid the wrath of the People. The French Revolution demonstrated what can happen to rulers who ignore this particular God. Not even athiests can deny its existence and power! And trusting the People is an excellent idea, too: On September 11, 2001, the only successful counterterrorism attack was carried out by ordinary People, UNARMED but well-informed. What would have been the result if all the passengers of all the planes, however ill-informed about the situation, had been bearing arms, as supposedly is their guaranteed Right under the Constitution?

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Because the process of voting lies at the very heart of the process by which the United States fairly conducts itself:

"The Definition of "treason" is herewith Amended so that in addition to its original meaning, it shall also include any Acts intended to interfere with the Expressing of the True Will of Voters."

The following Examples need not be part of the text of the Amendment; they are presented here to clarify the Meaning of the text, so that future lawyers will have fewer nits to pick:

Acts intended to thwart voters from casting ballots,
Acts intended to confuse voters during the voting process,
Acts intended to alter/replace ballots after being submitted by the voters,
Acts intended to alter the quantity of ballots submitted by voters.
Acts intended to introduce inaccuracies in any/all counting of ballots,
Acts intended to introduce inaccuracies in the recording of the tally of votes,
Acts intended to introduce inaccuracies in stored ballots and any other records of votes,
and Acts intended to introduce inaccuracies in the reporting of votes.

Note that a ballot may legitimately be rejected during submission if, for example, a particular issue is mistakenly voted both Yes and No. In this case the Voter is right there to witness the voiding of that ballot, and can be enabled to cast a replacement ballot that contains no such mistake. Note that abstaining to vote on a particular issue is not a mistake.

Note that after some reasonable number of years have passed without a vote being contested, all the ballots for that particular polling may be destroyed, and it cannot be called treason.

The whole point is that people who want to rig the voting system are self-declared as being people who "wish to not live" in a democracy. Since the penalty for treason is often death (but can also include exile), this Amendment lets that wish be easily granted.

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"Assassinate the President"

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 9 years ago (COPY-FREELY TEXT -- NOT COPYRIGHTED)
Have you ever seen this list before?

==========================================(begin list)
OATH OF OFFICE

President:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the {President} of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States."

----------------------

Senators and Representatives [this oath is also taken by the Vice President, members of the Cabinet, and all other executive officers and federal employees, except President (previous) and military/law officers (following)]:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

----------------------

Military Officers:
"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the [Army] of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."

----------------------

Military Enlisted:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

----------------------

Law enforcement:
I ............................ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution and Government of the State of ...................., against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance, and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution, or law of any state notwithstanding, and that I will well and faithfully perform all duties of the office of (Reserve, Auxiliary, etc.) on which I am about to enter; (if an oath) so help us God, (if an affirmation) under penalties of perjury.
==========================================(end of list)

Note the one for federal employees. This category presumably includes FBI agents, CIA agents, Secret Service agents, National Security Agency agents, and all similar groups. GOOD! Because that Oath is probably the only thing that has a chance of distinguishing those people from, say, Soviet KGB agents, Nazi SS agents, Mafia goons, and so on. Of course, the preceding is true only if our agents hold true to their Oaths....

The problem is, well, consider the United States' Constitution's First Amendment, for example. It's short and sweet: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Now at first glance there might seem to be a "disconnect" between what that Amendment tells Congress, and what all those agents are oathbound to do. But it's actually simple, because all those agents are part of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, and their job involves carrying out the Law -- mostly specified by Congress -- yet ALL the laws begin with the Constitution. It is the ultimate Law in the United States of America.

Therefore, all those agents are Oathbound to, for example, do nothing that might abridge freedom of speech. That word "abridge" has an interesting meaning because it is so useful. When building a road by the easiest route, you might want to abridge a river, so that you don't have to go long distances upstream to find a suitable natural crossing/ford. Abridging a river is therefore a shortening, a reducing, a lessening of distance and time. And so, equally, abridging a freedom means lessening that freedom.

According to this article, the Executive Branch of the U.S. government has become positively infested with Oathbreakers! The Constitution makes all public space in the entire Nation a "free speech zone", and LESSENING IS PROHIBITED. Thus, anyone ordering or trying to enforce a lessening of Freedom of Speech is an Oathbreaker! They all deserve to be fired. This may or may not include the President. I don't know who originated this particular obscenity against the People, but Oathbreaking has most definitely occurred in multiple levels of the power structure of the Executive Branch (there are always intermediaries passing orders along). The very best thing our agents can do is HOLD TRUE TO THEIR OATHS: Identify these domestic enemies of the Constitution, and expose them. The sooner, the better!

P.S. I do recognize that the claimed purpose behind creating lessened "free speech zones" relates to other duties. That is, stopping somebody who might want to assassinate the President is considered to be a pretty important duty. Nevertheless, there is no "conflict of duty" here. If we live in a Nation Ruled by Law, then even protecting the President must take second place to defending the Constitution. We can always get another President (indeed, there have been enough idiots holding the Office in the past that we KNOW "anybody can be President"!), but are we likely to ever have a better Constitution? More, LETTING some danger be part of the Presidency means that certain types of people (cowards, whom we wouldn't want as President anyway!) will decide they don't want to seek the job. Finally, it is a STUPID violation of the Oath, to think that a lessened "free speech zone" can help protect the President. Because an assassin who wants to get close enough to do the deed is then simply going to present himself (or herself) as a friend -- not as an freely-speaking protestor. Thus Oathbreaking gains absolutely nothing, and THAT is why it must be stopped.

P.P.S. Because the title of this text is quoted, it is not an advocation of anything. The title is actually just a search-marker, so that the agents to whom the text is directed can find it more easily. :)

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First Post!

VernonNemitz VernonNemitz writes  |  more than 9 years ago What sort of "geek factor" is associated with getting to be the first poster in response to an ordinary Slashdot article? None that I can see, since the availability of a new article is independent of the presence of the readers. I can understand the ego factor, but after a while it gets old. Does Slashdot have so many new users constantly signing up that there will apparently always be people for whom that dinky competition has not grown old? Or is it just a "immaturity" phenomenon, about which if I said or even suggested more, ridiculous amounts of flame-thowing would be aimed my way?

I suppose I should confess that in the ordinary usage of Slashdot, I think I managed a 2nd post once, without particularly trying; must have been a slow forum that day. I admit I felt a kind of rush, wondering if the message I was hurrying to write (which did NOT merely try to make a "First Post!" claim! -- that WOULD have counted as "particularly trying"...) would end up in first place. When it came out 2nd, I didn't feel a let-down so much as a kind of, "Yep, that was indeed a likely possibility." acceptance. So, if the opportunity arises again, will I be in a hurry? Probably. Will I just dash off a "First Post!" claim? NO. There will almost certainly be something else I'd be interested in writing.

Well, then, what about the "First Post!" claim which is the title of this posting? Easy! In my own Journal here on Slashdot there is no way this cannot be the first post! I have no competition to worry about! So, I can enjoy a little heady feeling about it for real, have a little fun with the whole concept, and blather some generalities about the topic, as if I was writing some sort of serious essay, all at the same time. (And yes, I'm sure the comments of others, if any, will let me know how it went over.)

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