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Comments

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NFL Fights To Save TV Blackout Rule Despite $9 Billion Revenue

gerardrj cheap (216 comments)

So the consumers love their team so much they always want to watch the team play. They just don't want to pay for tickets or pay for the TV channel to watch.
Maybe it is time for the major league sports teams to just give in and make watching their games completely free and supported by advertising. I mean we're pretty far along already. Adverts on the screen all the time, swooshing adverts on the screen intermittently, adverts between plays, commercials, logos all over the field, etc.
Let's just for for the gusto... "Frito Lay presents the snapping the ball the quarterback, as he fades back in the team's signature Cadillac move. He Snickers tosses the ball to the wide receiver who's catch is sponsored by Taco Bell and runs to the Minute Maid mid-field where he's taken down by Office Max's linebacker.

Look.. the teams in cities and states have 0 to do with the city or state any more, the players are from all over the world, training camps are in another part of the county and they'd relocate for a deal that made them 2% more money. The stadiums are owned by the team and they sell the naming rights to the highest bidder.
Just go full out commercial with this stupid professional games stuff.

about three weeks ago
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Georgia Tech Researchers Jailbreak iOS 7.1.2

gerardrj Re:Why? (136 comments)

Do you also "root" your car? I mean it has lots of computer controllers that you should have access to since you won the thing, right?

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Should I Fight Against Online Voting In Our Municipality?

gerardrj yes (190 comments)

We need to stop finding different mechanisms to all vote on one day and instead allow in-person voting over a longer period, such as a calendar week.

about a month ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

gerardrj To quote Gomer Pyle: (266 comments)

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

about a month ago
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Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

gerardrj Re:Surprise, surprise... (739 comments)

GCC is open source. If Linus is such a great expert on the issues with it then why isn't he fixing them? Probably because he doesn't have the skills.
If you don't have the skills to create a compiler or fix a broken one then you have no valid basis for complaining so loudly about the defect in the one you use.

about a month ago
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Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

gerardrj Well, (739 comments)

Since Linus has such a great operating system he should have his own compiler so why's he complaining? Oh, that's right, 95% of what we call an operating system has noting to do with Linux. He was only able to create his kernel because gcc and the GNU project in general had already built all the tools he needed to use and stand on.

When Linus writes all the subordinate tools, libraries and programs needed for an operating system, then I'll accept his opinion on the quality of any of that.

about a month ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

gerardrj Sad (132 comments)

NASA to Congress: We want to build a launch system that will be the single most important component in the US presence in space for the nest several generations. We need $20B for it from planning to first launch.
Congress to NASA: Screw that, you get $12B.
NASA to Congress: We can almost do it with $12B, we need an additional $400M
Congress to NASA: Justify the additional $$

Military to Congress: We need $10B to build a new strike fighter that no-one really wants.
Congress to Military: Here ya go
Military to Congress: Oops. We've crashed a bunch of prototypes, and still have major design flaws and systems failures. Another $10B should get us on track.
Congress to Military: Here ya go
Military to Congress: Supplier problems, we need another $10B
Congress to Military: Here ya go

Why are we so damned willing to spend money to kill people more efficiently and not to do science that positively impacts all our lives every day?

about a month ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

gerardrj Re:Customer service? (928 comments)

From SWA's web site: http://www.southwest.com/html/...

Do families get to preboard?
An adult traveling with a child four years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the "A" group has boarded and before the "B" group begins boarding. However, those Customers holding an "A" boarding pass should still board with the "A" boarding group.
**he fails this clause as his children are stated to be 6 and 9

Can groups assigned to different boarding positions board together?
Yes. However, in order to maintain the integrity of the boarding process, we ask that earlier boarding positions board with the later positions. For example, if a passenger is assigned position A16 and wants to board with a passenger assigned position A45, the passenger holding the A16 boarding pass should board with the A45 passenger.
The attendant correctly applied this clause and the customer disliked the enforcement of the rule solely because another agent had offered and exception. This is why companies so often state "no exceptions". Once you grant an exception you make the next employee look like a jerk for properly applying the rules.

Just because you chose to breed doesn't mean you get to just do whatever you want. We have rules. Following them, even when they don't get you what you want, is probably the best parenting you could do. This guy tried to show his kids he was special and didn't need to follow the rules. He'll never explain THAT to them, I'm sure.

That said the response of the attendant pulling him off the plane was unwarranted and stupid. She's created a PR headache, cost the airline money (I'm sure they'll give him vouchers), and probably delayed the flight as they had to account for all his luggage and possessions before they could allow pushback.

about a month ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

gerardrj Re: Customer service? (928 comments)

Where you sit on a plane has just about 0 effect on your arrival time at your final destination.
When you look at the overall travel time from leaving the door at your departure address, getting to the airport, flying, bag claim, getting from airport to your destination address; the 90 seconds you may have saved by seat choice is absolutely worthless. You're talking about 3-7 hours of total travel time and people think that a few seconds helps them in some way.

I also think that the boarding time has FAR less to do with the plan and much more to do with people's greed, stupidity and ignorance. Get in, put your bag OVER YOUR OWN SEAT, sit down, buckle your belt. Seems people suddenly forget that they need their book, have to piss, just have to ask a question of the flight crew, or any number of things other than getting luggage stowed and ass in seat.

about a month ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

gerardrj Re: name and location tweeted... (928 comments)

Airport terminals are public spaces
The airport itself MAY be private property, do not conflate "property" with "space"

Examples of private property, public space:
The customer areas of a shopping mall
Airport terminals
Rockefeller center square
Your unfenced front yard

Examples of private property, private space
The manager's office of the mall
Airport security offices, any area marked "secure" or "private"
The executive offices of the building
Your home

Examples of public property, public space:
Your local library
State Park

Example of public property, private space:
The police station

about a month ago
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Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA

gerardrj Re:At least they're open about it. (109 comments)

Government can be accountable to the people. The wealthy have the means to promote their viewpoints loudly but the only viewpoints and opinions that matter are what goes on in the voting booths.
If the lazy Americans would stop re-electing 90%+ of the politicians they all state are doing a lousy job then perhaps we could get something productive done, like undoing a lot of the stupid that was enacted in the past 60 years. Party lines aren't the problem and people need to get over it and just vote the incumbents out.

If we start getting regular turn-over of elected officials then the back-room deals, the special interest groups, the lobbying all become less effective as they're starting from 0 every election cycle. The problems are caused by the old white men who've been in Congress or state legislatures for decades and the entrenched system of donations, perks and fringe benefits given to them by those with money. Will it be ideal? No. Will it be better? Probably.

about a month ago
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MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

gerardrj Re:Here we go... (454 comments)

Hamas wants Israel destroyed because the creation of Israel destroyed Palestine. There is no simple right/wrong or good/evil here. Israel keeps confiscating more land and shows no signs of stopping until Gaza and The West Bank are under their control. Both sides are fighting incursion but only one side has international support.

The Zionists chose Palestine and the UN went along with that choice. How would we feel if the UN instead had carved out ½ of New York City, or Paris or Vatican City and gave it to the Jews as a homeland? There would be outrage and retaliation for generations. Sound familiar?

about a month ago
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Researcher Finds Hidden Data-Dumping Services In iOS

gerardrj Re:Huge Caveat! (98 comments)

If there were master keys the Apple process to retrieve court ordered data would not take 4 months and $1,000.

about a month ago
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Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

gerardrj Re:3 is a "swarm"? (80 comments)

Well, that depends.
Three cars... no. Three people...no. Three airplanes... no. Three angry wasps trying to sting me... yes.

about 2 months ago
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EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

gerardrj Re:Hmm (625 comments)

My point is both issues were self inflicted and so there is some parity between the two.
On a less severe note, if you choose to snow ski and break your leg, in most states you can get a temporary handicap placard.
The "will you get better" question doesn't seem to come in to play when the government assigns the designation of handicapped.

about 3 months ago
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Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

gerardrj Re:Not SHARING (507 comments)

I used my own car's real-world operations numbers and increased all my costs a bit.
2004 Golf TDI

These are number for operating the vehicle, not owning and so do not include depreciation, payments, repairs, etc. Just the wear and tear on normal service items. Uber does not claim their drivers are professionals or running a business so they don't get to do depreciation for purposes of "ride sharing". If they were taxi/limo drivers they could do that. Yes is costs more than this per mile to OWN a car, but not to drive it.

(all figures are $/mile)
fuel: $.09 [$3.77/gal at a real-world usage of at least 40mpg) (price/gal currently in Phoeinx, AZ)
tires: $.02 [$1,100 every 50,000 miles. I use really nice tires]
oil change: $.008 [$90 every 10,000 miles. includes air/oil filters]
insurance: $.02 [$480/yr at 20,000 miles per year]
miscellaneous: $.01 [washer fluid, headlights, etc. $200/yr assuming 20,000 miles]
Total per mile operating cost: $0.18 or about 5.5 miles per dollar.

Sure if you have an SUV getting 16mpg or a high performance car with really expensive tires or carry boat loads of insurance you can increase the cost per mile substantially, but that is an average car driven by an average person.

So let me do an "average" truck the Ford F150 which is the most popular vehicle in the US line according to a quick search.

fuel: $.17 [$3.55/gal 20mpg average estimated] (again price in Phx,AZ as of today)
tires: $.03 [$970 every 30,000 miles (assuming Nitto 420s) and they are worn down faster than the tread warranty]
oil change: $.005 [$50 every 10,000 miles] ) (10,000 is factory spec. even at 5,000 miles the cost is only a penny per mile)
insurance: $.06 [$720/yr assuming 12,000 miles/ year]
miscellaneous: $.03 [washer fuid, lights, etc. $360/ys assuming 12,000 miles]
Total per mile operating cost: $0.29

about 3 months ago
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EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

gerardrj Hmm (625 comments)

So the people who could most use the exercise are going to have to walk the least.

I guess the overall plan makes sense; if you were to chop off your own leg you'd be considered disabled; I don't think the law makes any exceptions for self inflicted disability. It just seems wrong, though. Eat your way to not being able to fit in the office cubicle and your boss has to accommodate your mass by re-engineering the doors and floor to handle your breadth and heft.

about 3 months ago
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Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

gerardrj Not SHARING (507 comments)

When you share something you don't charge for it. Uber drivers charge so this is a very simple vehicle/driver for hire setup we commonly call a taxi. If they are a taxi then they must abide by the taxi laws: meters inspected by weights and measures, taxes paid, licensing requirements met. (call them a Limo if you want, the term is irrelevant for most all regulation issues)

To be a "ride share" scenario the driver would have to have already been going to, near to or past the place you want to be. You could pay a little bit of money to cover the cost of fuel for the time the passenger is in the car.

This is all pretty well spelled out in the aviation laws already and my guess will be those laws/regulations will wind up as precedent against Uber/Lyft. As a commercial pilot you may charge whatever price you can for flying a passenger to a destination. As a private pilot you may only share a minority of expenses with the passenger and not make any profit. Ex: if it costs $50/hr to fly your plane then you can share that cost with the passenger up to $25/hr. The passenger must also have a common destination/purpose. I suppose you could itemize your charges as $25 for flight sharing, $200 for valet service on the airport ramps but due to oversight and licensing I don't know any pilot that would risk that maneuver.

So let's apply those same tests to the Uber/Lyft services:

Cost to operate a vehicle: in the range of $.12 to $.25 per mile, Uber rate: ~$1.50 per mile, 6 times the actual operating cost:
      cost share: fail
Common destination/purpose: The driver's goal is to get the passenger to the destination, the driver has no business at the destination:
      common purpose: fail

about 3 months ago
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Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals the Most Influential People In History

gerardrj People or characters? (231 comments)

If they're going to include fictional characters such as Jesus and Mary then they need to open it up to all other fictional characters: Dr. Who, Zaphod, Oz, etc.

about 3 months ago
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Intel Wants To Computerize Your Car

gerardrj "Wants to computerize"? (191 comments)

Is there a current model year car in the US that will run without computers today? Engine management, automatic transmission, RFID key systems, remote/button start, airbags, traction control, collision avoidance, backup cameras, auto headlights, the entire instrument cluster, the entire entertainment system.
I'd guess each and every car in production today in the US has at least 20 computers in it, doesn't that seem sufficiently "computerized"?

Understand that the processors in the computers are highly specialized to use the least amount of electricity and be the most reliable they can be. Has you engine every shut off because of a computer failure? The power usage is one that people don't seem to fully grasp. Your car generates its own electricity via the engine drivel alternator. IF you start tossing in high power general purpose CPUs and computer in the car you will increase fuel consumption for the added weight and power draw. It MAY be that the computer could offset those variables with added intelligence. Electricity use is one of the major reasons manufacturers are moving to LED lighting systems.

about 3 months ago

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Journals

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mis-understood war?

gerardrj gerardrj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Donald Rumsfeld, during his resignation press conference, called the Iraq war misunderstood. Let me see explain it as I see it and see if he's right

First, this wasn't a "war" politically in that Congress never declared a war as required by the U.S. Constitution. Sure there was an "authorization for the use of force" but I don't see that as a documented power of the Congress.

Second, this was not an invasion since we never left Iraq after the first, world supported, invasion in the 90s to kick Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

Okay, now on the the war understanding...

We overthrew the dictator based government of Iraq. The head of that government was Saddam Hussein, who ruled ruthlessly by most accounts. Under Hussein's rule there was generally peace between the disparate groups of Iraq. Saddam kept order under the threat of death, he put people in prisons and abused them.

This dictator had no weapons of significance with which to defend against the US overthrow action and had absoloutly nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. Despite the overwhelming volume of the "they have W.M.Ds" claims, there were many intelligent and knowledgeable people stating plainly that there was no way Iraq had any significant weapons or the ability to produce them.

We took down the Iraqi government with a minimum of troops to do so, thus eliminating the single stabilizing force in that country. We replaced that government with a U.S. chosen group of "leaders". That government and the U.S. Military put people in prison and abused them while not restraining the internal hatred of Iraq's citizens.

We stayed to help rebuild Iraq so the people could have the things we destroyed during nearly 15 years of constant bombing, demolition and shooting. Again, we never left Iraq, we flew daily raids in to the country bombing radar and suspected military installations. The thing the U.S. Military goes out of the way to ignore or deny is that we have bombarded Iraq with nuclear waste. The U.S. takes nuclear waste that would otherwise be buried miles underground for millennia and put it in to bullets and bombs. We then fired those weapons in to the population centers of Iraq.

Instead of actually rebuilding the infrastructure for the Iraqi people and cleaning up the radioactive waste, we spent billions of dollars sending vending machines to the military camps so our troops could buy a Snickers bar after coming back from a 2am raid on a civilian home.

The disparate factions of the country/region started fighting each other, catching thousands of civilians in the cross fire. These warring factions then decide to sometimes unite to instead attack Americans. We decide to label these people fighting against themselves and us as "terrorists", fueling even more the divisive nature of the occupation.

So the "war" was a pointless and poorly planned overthrow of the one person capable of keeping peace in the country during which the majority of the Iraqi people have come to be at least indifferent if not hostile toward our presence in their home.

As for that whole "war crimes" thing that Hussein was found guilty of... Let's then posthumously convict Winston Churchill of the same thing since he gladly supported the gassing of the Suni and Kurd villiages if they didn't pay their taxes on time; this obviously during one of Britain's failed attempts at occupying and transforming Iraq.

Does that about sum it up Mr. Rumsfeld?

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The war on terror

gerardrj gerardrj writes  |  more than 10 years ago

How will it end? There are three main potential outcomes:

1. The U.S manages through force, embargoes/boycotts, and coercion to make all other nations think the way we do and implements what we allow to pass for "democracy".

2. The U.S. spends years or decades fighting the "war" only to realize there is no way to win and gives up.

3. The other 95% of the world population gets tired of our bullying and declares war on the U.S. World: 6,416,735,872 US: 293,694,626.

"Terrorism" has been with us since the beginning of civilization as we know it. Terrorism has no fixed definition; like love it is in the eye of the beholder. The United States Military has policies and procedures for "low level urban combat", the definition for which matches the U.S. Justice Department's definition of terrorism.

The U.S. has proven with the "drug war" that you can not win a war when you are funding both sides, and this is just what is happening in the war or terrorism. The U.S. keeps sending money, weapons, technology and training to states who a decade later decide they've had enough and turn on us. We trained, funded and armed Osama. We funded, trained and armed Hussein. We funded, trained and armed a large number of entities who later turned on us.

On an even larger note, history has proven that no-one can inflict their will on the world or even a region for an extended period of time. It didn't work for the Mongrels, it didn't work for the Egyptions, it didn't work for the Romans, it didn't work for the British, it didn't work for the Nazis. Will it work for the U.S?

So, my open questions are these:
Given the dismal failures in the past to "rule the world", and the extreme minority that the U.S. population, how does the U.S. plan to spread it's views on a world that could exist quite nicely without us?
As the minority population, isn't forcing our views on the majority population diametrically opposed to the basic idea of democracy which is "majority rules"?

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Please read your founder's documents

gerardrj gerardrj writes  |  more than 10 years ago

No matter what your political affiliation, no matter what your views on current world events and issues, I emplore you: read the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Many people I talk with on-line and in the streets have not looked at these documents since grade school. If you are forming any opinions about US politics or actions without knowedge of the contents of these documents, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

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War? No, just a battle.

gerardrj gerardrj writes  |  more than 11 years ago

So here we go again... another grey haired president sending troops to a forign land to impose the will of the United States.
Does ANYONE remember this little document we here like to call The Constitution? Someone in The White House might want to try reading the thing some day. It's chock full of good ideas, such as balance of power in the Federal Government. For example, The Constitution specifically grants The President the position of Commander in Chief of the armed forces. That means that the pres gets to run the military within the confines of The Constitution. That documents also grants Congress (thats the combined House of Representatives and the Senate for those not paying attention in class), soley, the ability to declare war.
One can easily see that what was intened was for Congress to declare war on an "enemy" country, then the President would take over and command the military as necessary to win the war. The problem here is that Mr. Bush is sending massive numbers of troops and equipment to the middle east for battle in Iraq. Congress has NOT declared war on Iraq. IF US troops invade Iraq, we will be violating our own laws!
Lets not even get in to the way that Mr. Bush will be violating the laws of the god he claims to hold so dear. When, exactly, did god pass down an ammendment to the 5th commandment so that is reads: "Thou shalt not kill, unless thou art the United States, and thou are pissed off at brown people and wish to 'teach them a lesson'"?
Mr. Bush... if you truely believe in America and Christianity, you will ask Congress to officially declare war on Iraq. You will then use only non-lethal weapons to accomplish your stated goals.
IF you don't you are a criminal, a liar and a hypocrit.

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The pledge

gerardrj gerardrj writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Remember... the Bill of Rights does not state "freedom of religon", it states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". "God" is most definitely an establishment of many religions, indeed it is the core tennant of many religons. Placing a reference to a god in the Pledge is most definately a law respecting that establishment. Ergo, this should not be.

What harm would come from removing the phrase? None. Anyone who wanted to would still be able to add the phrase, just as supporters of it claim you can "just not say it". It would not remove the claimed belief in that god from the hearts and minds of the believers. Indeed, removing the phrase from the official pledge might cause people to be more thoughtfull of their god as they has to specifically think about repeating its name, instead of mindlessly reciting it as part of the Pledge.

Removing the phrase from the pledge would right an improper action of Congress that has been ignored by the courts for some 60 years. And yes, the phrase "In God we trust" should be removed from the currency also. Most will not recall that before the McCarthy era in the 50s, the money had several "cute" slogans on it, including "Mind your business".

I find it interesting that many people in support of keeping the phrase talk of the "heritage" of the phrase, and the "traditional values" of it. Traditionally the phrase was not there. The phrase is not in the spirit of the original author. The heratige of the government is one of not placing such slogans or names in public items. Our money did not have such a slogan for much more of its life than it did have one.

So yes, I support the courts decision. It was the correct legal interpitation. And yes, I am athiest.

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