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Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

bieber Re:It's effected me about as much as the sequester (1144 comments)

This is all for show. The government quite literally prints money. They don't need a budget, they don't need dept. All of the money they bailed out the banks with was quite literally created out of thin air.

Gotta love getting modded up for repeating complete nonsense. In theory, yes, the government can just "print more money," but they still couldn't legally spend any of it without a budget in place. And of course in reality they can't actually do that because it would completely destroy the value of the dollar...and as a consequence our economy as well. The government introduces more currency to keep the pool of available currency more or less consistent with the amount of goods and services available in the economy (which you may be surprised to know increases every year) and give people some incentive to keep money moving around instead of just hoarding it all to profit from deflation, rendering our currency useless as a medium of exchange. Believe it or not, there's a lot more to fiscal policy than just "lol why don't they just print more money amirite?"

about a year ago
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Ubuntu Edge Draws Nearly $13M, But Falls Short of Indiegogo Goal

bieber Re:Good (125 comments)

Considering that hasn't happened with laptops yet, I'd be very surprised to see it happen with phones, at least in the near future. Just like with laptops and desktops, just because you can mostly get the same performance in a much smaller form factor doesn't mean everyone's going to want to pay the premium for the smaller size.

about a year ago
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Florida Town Stores License Plate Camera Images For Ten Years

bieber Not only intrusive, but completely unnecessary (122 comments)

I grew up about a 15 minute drive away from Longboat key. Incidentally, I ran a camera at some of their city council meetings back when I did live video work, and they were about the most boring things I've ever sat through in my life. I literally watched them debate what kind of sand they should use to replenish their beaches for two hours on one occasion. On another I saw an argument go on for the better part of three hours, in which a new guest dock was being built at a gated community and the resident whose yard it was adjacent to was very much concerned that boats parked at the dock would obscure his view of the gulf. In a truly political compromise, they finally agreed that the dock would be built, but boaters should only use one side of it.

The reason I remember these anecdotes is that they were by far the most exciting things I saw happen at any point in their city council meetings. Longboat key is a quiet community of mostly elderly, very wealthy retirees. Not only is it populated almost entirely by senior citizens, but the island is well enough isolated that there's essentially zero risk of almost anyone ever deliberately going there: the only reason I've ever been to it was for the aforementioned jobs and to drive through it to get to Sarasota. Basically, to anyone who's ever been near Longboat Key, the idea that they need any automated license plate scanning system, let alone one that retains records for a decade, is laughably absurd.

about a year ago
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Florida Law May Accidentally Ban Computers and Smartphones

bieber Re: florida's governor is a criminal (238 comments)

Actually, they were providing it legally. Which is the "problem" this horribly drafted law set out to "solve" in the first place.

about a year ago
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Officials Say NSA Probed Fewer Than 300 Numbers - Broke Plots In 20 Nations

bieber Re:Proof or STFU (419 comments)

I don't doubt the number, but it's a meaningless figure. Think about it for a moment, they have this huge database of phone data they've scraped from all the major carriers, they have it available at the touch of a button (effectively, with a secret court to rubber stamp requests), so of course they're going to use it in any and all terrorism investigations they have going on. Then, when the program comes under fire some years later, they can say "Well look, we used that program to help thwart all these terrorist plots," complete with a number that looks impressive but is really just the count of every single major terrorist investigation they've undertaken since the program came into existence. Of course they won't tell you exactly what role the program played in those investigations, or whether it would have even been more difficult to bust the plots without that data, let alone impossible. And that's not even to begin getting into how many of those "terrorist plots" never would have happened without FBI agents getting them going in the first place...

about a year ago
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Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles

bieber Re:Bigotry (814 comments)

It's almost like one of those is a completely normal, natural thing that you have absolutely no control over while the other is a conscious decision to do something morally repugnant, and everyone but you is capable of understanding that glaringly obvious distinction. Weird, huh?

about a year ago
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Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles

bieber Re:Bigotry (814 comments)

Except that you said

Free speech in this country is in a horrible state, because it only applies in a very narrow way to government laws and actions.

The implication there is that there's something wrong with people facing serious repercussions for saying hateful things in public.

about a year ago
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Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles

bieber Re:Bigotry (814 comments)

Umm, yeah. When you spew bigoted nonsense and then other people in your life alienate you/refuse to associate with you, that's exactly how free speech is supposed to work. You're perfectly free to show everyone what a hateful douche you are, and they're likewise free to not associate with you, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do when you find out that someone you thought was a decent person is actually, say, a raging transphobe.

about a year ago
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Canon DSLR Hack Allows It To Shoot RAW Video

bieber Re:im confused here (171 comments)

The difference is that recording audio through your headphones gets you crappy audio that technically works and is a pain in the rear to capture. With a hack like this you get really great video quality (and audio is something you're ideally recording with separate equipment anyway), but it's a pain in the rear to capture. In the headphones-as-microphone case the only real motivation is desperation, but in this case you actually have a really great end product to show for it, and you can get it out of relatively very cheap gear. So if you don't have a lot of money and you really need video at that quality, then working around the restrictions of a hacked DSLR may very well be worth it, and can open up possibilities that wouldn't otherwise be accessible to you.

about a year ago
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Facebook's Hackathons Get a Rethink

bieber Re:hackathon? (49 comments)

Truly optional. It's very informal, employees kind of organize themselves into teams centered around ideas they've come up with: what you're working on for the hackathon won't generally have anything to do with your day-to-day work, so if your manager is at all concerned with your hackathon project it will likely only be a matter of personal curiosity, not to evaluate your performance. And it's pretty much a given that you're not going to be in any shape to get a significant amount of work done the next day (the all-nighters have typically been Thursday nights), so it's not like you're being pressed to squeeze in an extra day of work, it's more like rearranging your existing working hours.

about a year ago
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Canon Shows the Most Sensitive Camera Sensor In the World

bieber Re:Mo it is 7.5 time larger larger (218 comments)

Of course this means that sensor is physically larger

The sensor isn't physically larger. The specs say it's a full-frame 35mm sensor, and the photo of the prototype camera shows it with a standard EF lens mounted: a larger sensor would need medium or large format lenses, and it would be pretty much dead on arrival in the market if you had to go out and start buying medium or (God forbid) large format lenses to feed the thing. Half of the allure of Canon for video, after all, is that you can reuse your still EF lenses, and demanding huge format glass for HD video would be absurd.

The reason the photo sites are so much bigger in this sensor, presumably, is because the resolution is much lower than Canon's still SLR cameras. It doesn't give the resolution, but since it was only described as capturing "HD video," I wouldn't be surprised to find that the sensor's native resolution is that of 1080p video: 1920x1080 pixels, or about 2 megapixels. The 1Dx, on the other hand, has a native resolution of 18 megapixels.

So far, Canon (and more recently Nikon), have been allowing users to record HD video on their SLR cameras by scaling their massive native resolutions way down to a size that you can reasonably encode and cram onto a memory card in an SLR form factor. This approach, on the other hand, seems to be to build a sensor with a lower native resolution suitable for HD video at the same size as the larger SLR sensors, so you don't have to do any down-scaling and you get massive photo sites, which gives you a huge advantage in sensitivity.

about a year and a half ago
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EFF: Americans May Not Know It, But Many Are In a Face Recognition Database Now

bieber Re:You are naive (152 comments)

If you're that worried about obscenely uncommon edge cases, you might as well just lock yourself up in your house (the location of which you'll presumably permit no one to know) and never see the light of day again. Every time you go out in public people get the chance to see you, to interact with you, to find out who you are. And you know what? The vast, vast majority of the time that's exactly what you want: community is the most basic element of our existence, and we thrive on being connected to other people.

Facebook is just one more means to share information that I want people to know. Is it remotely possible that some creep could end up using information shared on Facebook to stalk or harass me? Sure. However, it's an absolute fact that being able to rapidly share photos, events, even just amusing little quips for friends to see, respond to and comment on is a great boon. For the price of a couple minutes spared glancing through my newsfeed every now and then, I can get a quick overview of what the people I care about (and even ones that I only peripherally care about) are up to. Instead of contacts going stale when people move away and get preoccupied with their new lives, I'm able to keep in at least light contact with dozens of people from my past who would have otherwise been all but forgotten by now, keep track of what they're up to and find out when our locations happen to coincide.

Is listing your home address on FB next to photos of your children and setting your privacy level to "public" a great idea? Certainly not, but taking a reasonable, measured approach to social networking certainly is. If someone on the Internet is able to somehow find a photo of my face with my name attached to it, I'm sorry but it just doesn't seem like too hefty a concern to me.

more than 2 years ago
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Will Speed Limits Inhibit Autonomous Car Adoption?

bieber Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (650 comments)

Is that supposed to be sarcasm? They're perfectly capable of detecting pedestrians. Google has been driving these things all over the place with only occasional human interference and they're certainly not leaving a stream of dead pedestrians in their wake...

more than 2 years ago
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Will Speed Limits Inhibit Autonomous Car Adoption?

bieber Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (650 comments)

I don't know why everyone seems to be under the impression that these things are just going to blindly follow maps and GPS, but that's not how it works at all. They're equipped with all kinds of sensors and cameras that let them examine their environment, and they're not going to turn onto a "road" that isn't actually there. Will there be some freak accidents that could potentially have been avoided by manual controls? Sure there will, but they'll be far, far outweighed by the avoidable accidents that will result from letting humans take control.

more than 2 years ago
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Will Speed Limits Inhibit Autonomous Car Adoption?

bieber Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (650 comments)

Once you get autonomous cars driving safer than humans on average (and I would be surprised if we haven't already passed that point, because humans get themselves into an awful lot of trouble operating motor vehicles), a manual override would be one of the worst possible things you could add. Think about it: when is a human driver most likely to override the car's AI? In a situation that they perceive as an emergency, say a pedestrian jumping out into the street, getting cut off at an intersection, so on and so forth. And when would the ultra-fast computational abilities of a computer be the most important? You guessed it, those same situations. If you give humans the option to take control, you can be sure that more often than not they're going to use it at the worst possible moments.

more than 2 years ago
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EU Parliament Adopts eCall Resolution

bieber Re:How will it determine if assistance is needed? (212 comments)

If the people were left unscathed, then they'll be free to cancel the alert. It's a problem easily enough solved with a "Don't send the paramedics, please" button.

more than 2 years ago
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Ford Predicts Self-Driving, Traffic-Reducing Cars By 2017

bieber Re:GPS needs to be fixed first (388 comments)

They don't just blindly follow GPS directions, that would be absurd. They're equipped with sensors and cameras that collect more than enough data to let them detect and avoid dangers like railroad tracks. When you look at the immense amount of injuries and property damage done by human drivers on a regular basis, it becomes pretty well apparent that one of the best things we could possibly do for public safety is to get humans out from behind the wheels of cars as soon as possible. Will there still be some freak accidents? Sure there will, but they'll be a heck of a lot less common than distracted, impaired, clumsy, or just plain not-fast-enough human drivers getting themselves into wrecks.

more than 2 years ago
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The 'Everyone Gets the Source Code, Donations Get You Binaries' Software Model

bieber Re:One caveat. (341 comments)

You can do that with any free software license, and I would assume anything approved by OSI as well. Being allowed to redistribute binaries isn't a unique feature of the GPL.

more than 2 years ago
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Universities Hold Transcripts Hostage Over Loans

bieber Re:Extortion? (541 comments)

GI Bill ... Instead of asking the government to give an education to them

Yeah, going to college on GI Bill money is far superior to government aid!

more than 2 years ago
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Universities Hold Transcripts Hostage Over Loans

bieber Re:does it surprise you? (541 comments)

The analogy doesn't hold. When you take out a loan for a car, you put the car up for collateral. That's an arrangement between you and the loan issuer, in which the car dealer has no stake (unless, of course, they're the one issuing the loan). A more correct analogy would be the car dealership repossessing the car even though you don't owe them any money and they have no claim to it. Of course that's also a flawed analogy, though, because there is no proper analogy between a service provided by an educational institution and a physical good, and it's not possible in any meaningful sense to take a college degree from somebody.

In effect, what this means is that even though you've completed the educational requirements to hold a position and you're perfectly qualified, an arbitrary third party is allowed to step in and prevent you from getting that job because you owe another third party money. This is not only detrimental to you, but also to the employers missing out on potentially productive employees, and in the long run the loan issuers who aren't going to get paid back when the students can't find a decent job. It's a drag on productivity for the entire economy, and it's not in the public interest to allow practices that forcibly underutilize skilled labor.

more than 2 years ago

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