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AT&T Hacker 'weev' Demands One Bitcoin For Each Hour He Spent In Jail

bkaul01 Intelligence eclipsed by hate (449 comments)

At least they have one thing in common: they're all dead. Maybe he'll soon follow?

about 2 months ago
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How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay

bkaul01 Re:Praise Legacy Data (336 comments)

While it's true that doctors and hospitals set their own prices for the uninsured, that doesn't mean the uninsured are being screwed. In practice, it's often just the opposite: if you're paying directly, they'll give you a significant discount to not have to deal with the insurer. However, if they submit a claim to your insurer on your behalf, they can't give you that discount. I know a number of people who have encountered cash prices less than half what the insurer would be billed, from both dentists and doctors.

1 year,2 days
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The Black Underbelly of Windows 8.1 'Blue'

bkaul01 Entire lopped off pieces? (608 comments)

Windows Experience Index being deprecated constitutes "entire lopped off pieces"? Really? More FUD...

1 year,23 days
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Federal Judge Says Interns Should Be Paid

bkaul01 Re:Genius judge (540 comments)

This may not apply to Hollywood, but in engineering and scientific research fields, hiring student interns is (1) far cheaper than having an experienced engineer or researcher do many of the more time-consuming low-level tasks, and (2) gives us kind of an extended interview period and lets us develop a relationship with them, so that if we've got a position open after they've finished their studies we already have an idea of whether they'd be good candidates.

about a year ago
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Google Drops XMPP Support

bkaul01 Re:not surprising (416 comments)

No kidding. Microsoft keeps upgrading its services (Outlook.com, Skydrive, etc.) while Google keeps crippling or screwing up its services. That could be part of the explanation though: Google removes EAS support so Windows/Windows Phone won't work as well as Android and iOS with its services; Microsoft adds Gchat support to Outlook.com, Google decides to drop XMPP to break interoperability; Microsoft announces added support for CardDAV/CalDAV to WP to work around the lack of EAS, what's Google's next move? etc., etc.

about a year ago
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N. Carolina May Ban Tesla Sales To Prevent "Unfair Competition"

bkaul01 Re:The best part of the article is at the bottom (555 comments)

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.

If Congress passes a law to prohibit people from spending money to advertise their ideas, you are abridging both the people's freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. The alternative is that the government can prevent political discourse of which it does not approve ...

about a year ago
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N. Carolina May Ban Tesla Sales To Prevent "Unfair Competition"

bkaul01 Re:Leadership should be about ideas not bankrolls (555 comments)

The reason the Supreme Court said that money = speech is that the primary use of money in politics is to fund political communications, primarily in the form of TV advertising these days. It's neither constitutionally permissible nor even desirable to prohibit people from involvement in political communications; doing so would undermine the entire concept of a free, democratic government.

I agree that the current state of political funding, corruption, and cronyism is troubling. But the answer isn't to somehow mandate that people pay for others to communicate things that the payer disagrees with, nor to prohibit a person from paying to spread a message he does agree with. That would be highly counterproductive.

about a year ago
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N. Carolina May Ban Tesla Sales To Prevent "Unfair Competition"

bkaul01 Re:The best part of the article is at the bottom (555 comments)

There are a few problems with that idea, the most obvious being constitutional protection of free speech, free association, etc. More fundamentally, you can't ban involvement in the political process and still maintain a free, democratic government.

The only effective way to get money out of politics would be to get everyone in our culture to stop watching TV and become impervious to advertising. The reason campaigns cost as much as they do is that TV advertising is incredibly expensive, and that is because it works. You can't constitutionally prevent people from being involved in spreading the message of their choice, so the only way to cut down on the money involved in doing so is to reduce the cost of transmission. Sadly, that will never happen.

about a year ago
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Real World Stats Show Chromebooks Are Struggling

bkaul01 Re:Give up (250 comments)

I don't think his point was regarding sales and whether a product should be continued or not, but about what is central to the identity of the product.

about a year ago
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Why US Mileage Ratings Are So Inaccurate

bkaul01 Re:The Testing Process is Flawed (374 comments)

Chassis dynamometers are calibrated using data from coast-down tests that account for drag, rolling resistance, etc. Coefficients obtained from real-world coast-down tests on a vehicle are used in the dynamometer control system to impose speed-appropriate braking on the rollers, and thus the dynamometer test results exactly match real-world performance.

about a year ago
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The Body's "Fountain of Youth" Could Lie In the Brain

bkaul01 Re:Unfortunately... (118 comments)

While this information is interesting from a research standpoint, it's likely to be near-useless in the long term.

They demonstrated an ability to slow or halt age-associated cognitive decline in the mice; that could potentially have real long-term utility in dealing with age-related phenomena such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

about a year ago
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Europe Needs Genetically Engineered Crops, Scientists Say

bkaul01 Re:"Needs"? (586 comments)

Really, all GM even is is more informed plant breeding... nearly everything we eat is "genetically modified" through breeding anyway.

about a year ago
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Aereo Ruling Could Impact Pandora

bkaul01 Re:Playing back a recording (107 comments)

Copyright doesn't restrict dissemination of information/knowledge. It restricts outright copying of others' work without their permission. You can still paraphrase and re-explain the information contained therein all you like. You just have to do it yourself, in your own words/tones/images/whatever.

about a year ago
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DMCA Safe Harbor May Not Apply To Old Copyrighted Works

bkaul01 Re:That's just insane. (139 comments)

Federal judges aren't elected ...

about a year ago
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Declassified LBJ Tapes Accuse Richard Nixon of Treason

bkaul01 Re:If this is true... (536 comments)

He went to war because every intelligence agency in the West (not just the US, but France, Germany, the UK, even Israel, et al) believed Saddam's lie about having WMDs. Saddam was trying to maintain a cold war with Iran, and wanted them to believe he had an active WMD program as a deterrent. He was a little too convincing for his own good. Whether pre-emptive action against Iraq was the right strategy or not, it seems pretty clear it was a good-faith decision.

about a year ago
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EU Car Makers Manipulating Fuel Efficiency Figures

bkaul01 Re:European Magic (431 comments)

If you design an engine to take advantage of the high octane number of a high-ethanol blend (i.e., E20+), with a high compression ratio, etc., there is a lot to be gained. A higher compression ratio inherently makes the thermodynamic cycle more efficient, and the high octane number avoids the losses due to retarded combustion phasing that are necessary to avoid knock with gasoline.

Running certification tests on a high-ethanol blend doesn't, in and of itself, bring about those design changes. What it does is give the manufacturers a motivation to put all the extra work into really calibrating their engines twice for both a high-ethanol and a low-ethanol fuel, by actually giving them credit on CAFE, etc. The approach would also require that high-ethanol blends be available and actually be purchased by the consumers... there are more than a few barriers there, but research shows that it is possible to overcome the energy density penalty if the engine is optimized for E85.

about a year ago
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EU Car Makers Manipulating Fuel Efficiency Figures

bkaul01 Re:Human Nature (431 comments)

Possibly ... I suspect durability could be a challenge. They are going as far as active louvers in the grill, etc. these days on some vehicles (e.g. some Ford Focus models) though, and new models have much tighter clearances around body openings/joints than was common in the past.

about a year ago
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EU Car Makers Manipulating Fuel Efficiency Figures

bkaul01 Re:European Magic (431 comments)

The cars are tested with pure gas, but regulations require a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into the real-world gasoline supply (up to 10% and the lobby wants to raise it higher), and this drastically hurts efficiency.

Well, "drastically" might be a bit of an overstatement ... on a volumetric basis, ethanol has 36% less energy than gasoline, so E10 (10% ethanol by volume) has 3.6% less energy. In real-world terms, this means getting 29 mpg instead of 30. It's measurable, but not, perhaps, "drastic."

You are correct on certifications being performed using E0 fuel, while E10 is the norm almost everywhere in the US. There is some desire to allow certifications using higher ethanol blends for flex-fuel vehicles, which would let automakers take advantage of some of the other fuel properties of ethanol (e.g., very high octane rating) to make engines more efficient (and have those efficiency gains actually count for CAFE purposes) and thus offset the energy density penalty.

about a year ago
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EU Car Makers Manipulating Fuel Efficiency Figures

bkaul01 Re:Human Nature (431 comments)

Fashion ... and things like the engine not overheating, the hood and doors being able to open, and other such trivialities...

about a year ago
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DoJ Admits Aaron Swartz's Prosecution Was Political

bkaul01 Re:Intent to break the law is not breaking the law (326 comments)

No, and they didn't prosecute him for conspiracy, etc. They said that one factor in their deciding to prosecute him for the laws he did break because of his clear, stated intention to break additional laws. The prosecution was for things he actually did that were illegal. The DOJ's decision to prosecute rather than ignore those infractions was based in part on his stated intentions of future actions.

about a year and a half ago

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