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Comments

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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

mendax Re:Not going to register. (721 comments)

Oh, what sort of trouble? Court action? Are you going to spend huge amounts of money to fight the IRS seizing your assets for failure to pay the tax for not having the coverage when you had the opportunity to have it? Are you going to risk a prison sentence for tax evasion? Are you going to risk having liens placed on assets, have your house sold from underneath you, all because you have this weird notion that you don't need to have health insurance coverage? If so, you are a fool.

Sure, the government cannot MAKE you do anything. You have free will and while the law can compel you to do something, you can simply refuse to comply. But if you do so, there are consequences. In this case, it's 1% of your gross income or $95 whichever is more. You can refuse to pay the penalty but if you don't, the government will come and take it eventually... and if you refuse to do it often enough, they may eventually come after your physical body as well.

Frankly, if you qualify for health insurance coverage, especially for subsidized coverage, and you can afford it and you come down with some horrid disease like cancer, you will get no sympathy from me and thoroughly deserve to be driven into bankruptcy because of your foolishness. Let's face it, healthy people can get very sick, get hurt in accidents, etc. etc.

about a week ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

mendax Kathleen Sebelius resignation (721 comments)

Kathleen Sebelius just announced her resignation. It's likely tied to the HealthCare.gov debacle although she is merely a scapegoat. Perhaps it also has to do with the supposedly funny numbers.

about a week ago
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German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence

mendax Sieg heil! (55 comments)

I'll start to worry about the German Wikipedia when a swastika appears on the main page and the those who threaten to curbstone other editors resort to more Gestapo tactics. Then we'll know that they have fully returned to their old ways. Until then, I won't lose any sleep.

about two weeks ago
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German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence

mendax Re:Unlike English WP? (55 comments)

Only in the UK. ;-)

about two weeks ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

mendax The Eye of the Beyolder (469 comments)

As with all artistic judgments, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The same applies to the sound of a Strad vs. a fine modern violin, or even another 17th or 18th century violin. I am not a violinist or not even that much of a musician but I know a good sounding violin when I hear it. The finest sounding one in my opinion is not a Strad, it's "David", the Guarneri that Jasha Heifetz owned and preferred. The rest of you may disagree.

about two weeks ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

mendax Re:Article Is Wrong (469 comments)

Exactly, mostly. All instruments need tuned prior to playing because chances in temperature and/or humidity change their physical characteristics. But I suspect that someone who has been loaned a Strad can change the strings. Strings wear out and occasionally will break while playing or tuning. I suspect the loan terms dictate the kind of strings that can be installed.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To Allow Code Contributions To F#

mendax Re:Please do our work for free! (100 comments)

Translation: I fear Greeks bearing gifts.

A reference to the Trojan horse.

about two weeks ago
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The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

mendax Cosmos (509 comments)

A good dose of the Cosmos mini-series, both old and new, may be in order. Countless people of my generation were enlightened and educated by the first series. I would love to lock both houses of Congress in the House chambers, lock the door, and make them watch both series. Many scientific ignoramuses there may be enlightened, especially when they learn just how much good science has been government funded. But then there will be the religious fundamentalists who are thump their bibles and declare it all to be blasphemy. Those who are enlightened should be congratulated; those who cling to their religion despite the facts before them need to be put into a nuclear fusion torus and vaporized. That'll give them a bit of religion!

about two weeks ago
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Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

mendax Re:The double standard at work (824 comments)

End result - people's will overturned by a few activist judges.

Wrong. It was overturned because Prop. 8 was clearly unconstitutional. Study civil rights law as I have and you'll understand. These are the facts: Marriage may be considered by some people as a holy thing but as far as the government is concerned, it's nothing more than a civil contract. When the government prohibits certain persons from entering into such a contract simply because of their sexual orientation or gender without there being a rational reason for that prohibition, it's unconstitutional because it's then considered to be arbitrary. There is no good reason for that prohibition that makes any sense. The excuses used by religious conservatives in the past have been shown to be crap. Gay marriage is almost a fait accompli in the U.S. and there is very little anyone can do about it.

Prop 8 was a slam dunk vote in which CA clearly voted in one direction, despite being pro Democrat since Reagan stopped being president.

Incidentally, recent polls show that California voters would not pass an initiative like Prop. 8 today and that a majority support gay marriage.

about three weeks ago
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Creationists Demand Equal Airtime With 'Cosmos'

mendax The Lunatic Fringe (667 comments)

Some believe that it's not possible that life arose from simple organic compounds. Sure, there are people who believe a lot of things. There are the Mormons and the Scientologists who have their space alien fantasies. There are those who think that Jews and black people are inherently inferior to those of "Aryan" ancestry. There are those who still cling to the idea that Obama was not born in Hawaii, that he is a Muslim, etc. etc. etc. Yet, nearly everyone to actually analyzes such beliefs can find no credence for them. "Cosmos" is science, after all, what has been demonstrated to be true or seems to be so based upon the evidence.

If the lunatic fringe want equal time, they can make their own damned show and show it on one of the Christian nutcase cable channels.

about a month ago
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It Was the Worst Industrial Disaster In US History, and We Learned Nothing

mendax Re:We've learned nothing? (290 comments)

Those companies better be careful when pouring sludge containing heavy metals like lead over poor, easily irritated people. Those people might send back the lead in a more refined form.

Oh yes. Such as being asked to give someone a gun and the person complies, starting with the bullets.

about a month ago
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It Was the Worst Industrial Disaster In US History, and We Learned Nothing

mendax We've learned nothing? (290 comments)

Oh, we've learned something. We've learned that this is something the government doesn't want to deal with. How much sludge does a company have to pour into a river before the government not only takes notice but does something about it?

about a month ago
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Mars Rover Opportunity Faces New Threat: Budget Ax

mendax Typical government stupidity (185 comments)

This rover has been running ten years and has been used to do great science, far more than anyone ever anticipated. All the rovers have far exceeded their intended lifetimes. In other words, they're cheap. X number of dollars was spent to delivery Y amount of science and they got far more than they bargained for. Continuing the funding for the the rover means that this science gets even cheaper.

What Congress really ought to do is give NASA $10 billion, tell them to build and launch more rovers of this type, and send them all over Mars. $10 billion will pay for a lot of rovers.

about a month ago
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The $100,000 Device That Could Have Solved Missing Plane Mystery

mendax Why airlines won't install this device (461 comments)

Well, more specifically, why airlines won't install this device unless they're made to do it... and they won't.

If you were Malaysian Airlines right now you might wish you had one of these devices installed on the plane because it would resolve much of the public relations headache they are currently facing by letting them know NOW what was happening to that plane before it disappeared.. But that's about all it would save them. It won't save them anything else.

An airline is only going to want to install such a device if it directly benefits them financially and this device offers very little.

I doubt the FAA is going to require US carriers to install it because it offers very little the black boxes don't offer. It doesn't happen very often that a black box is unreadable or unrecoverable after a crash. It happens, but probably not often enough for installation of this device to be worth the cost and the trouble, especially that when those boxes are unavailable investigators have almost always been able to figure out what went wrong by using other evidence.

about a month ago
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Ice Age Fossils Found During Los Angeles Subway Exploration

mendax Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (64 comments)

It's an amazing place. They have a large wall covered with dire wolf skulls, just to show off how many dire wolf skeletons have been dug up.

It is an amazing place and easy to get to without a car. They also have either a woolly mammoth, a mastodon, or both on display, or did the last time I was there. The museum is evidence that the Los Angeles area was a kind of Garden of Eden during the last Ice Age. Of course, every Eden has to have its serpent to spoil it. In that place, the serpent was the saber-toothed lion.

And while you're there, the county art museum is next door if you like that kind of thing.

about a month ago
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Ice Age Fossils Found During Los Angeles Subway Exploration

mendax Re:Underground? (64 comments)

Actually, most of LA's subways are above ground.

You are probably confusing the subway with the trolley lines and the Metro Link trains, all of which run above ground for the most part.

about a month ago
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Ice Age Fossils Found During Los Angeles Subway Exploration

mendax Sea Lion head? (64 comments)

This is very interesting. You aren't going to find clams and sea lion heads in the La Brea tar pits. The most unusual thing I can recall they've found in there was a human skeleton of a native American woman who was bashed on the head and her body dumped in a pit.

about a month ago
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Dogs' Brains Have Human-like "Voice Area"

mendax Re:Dogs are best (139 comments)

Cats are at an evolutionary disadvantage compared to other domesticated animals, which are almost all social and equipped with the biological tools for living in a pack or herd.

Ordinary domestic pussycats do just fine living in groups. That's one of the reasons why they do well living with humans and with other cats and dogs as well. But cats are solitary hunters, unlike dogs and wolves which hunt in packs.

about a month and a half ago
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Dogs' Brains Have Human-like "Voice Area"

mendax Re:Dogs are best (139 comments)

'cause cats couldn't care less what your mood is :-)

That actually is not true. My experience is that my evil cat knows when I'm in a evil mood myself. She stays away. She also knows when I'm sick or feeling sad.

about a month and a half ago
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Dogs' Brains Have Human-like "Voice Area"

mendax Re:Dogs are best (139 comments)

This study was the first to actually look for a "voice center" in a non-primate. It seems more likely a great many animals have one, much as it may disappoint exceptionalists.

I am pretty sure that my beloved evil black cat knows my voice quite well. Indeed, she not only has figured out my voice, she's figured out everything else. She's highly manipulative. While I have trouble training her, she's got me well-trained.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay So

mendax mendax writes  |  about three weeks ago

mendax (114116) writes "A New York Times op-ed reports:

A team of web designers recently released an astonishingly innovative app for streaming movies online. The program, Popcorn Time, worked a bit like Netflix, except it had one unusual, killer feature. It was full of movies you’d want to watch.

When you loaded Popcorn Time, you were presented with a menu of recent Hollywood releases: “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “12 Years A Slave” and hundreds of other acclaimed films were all right there, available for instant streaming at the click of a button.

If Popcorn Time sounds too good to be true, that’s because it was. The app was illegal — a well-designed, easy-to-use interface for the movie-pirating services that have long ruled the Internet’s underbelly. Shortly after the app went public, its creators faced a barrage of legal notices, and they pulled it down.

But like Napster in the late 1990s, Popcorn Time offered a glimpse of what seemed like the future, a model for how painless it should be to stream movies and TV shows online. The app also highlighted something we’ve all felt when settling in for a night with today’s popular streaming services, whether Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, or Google or Microsoft’s media stores: They just aren’t good enough."

Link to Original Source
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Apparent Theft at Mt. Gox Shakes Bitcoin World

mendax mendax writes  |  about 2 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting that Mt. Gox, the most prominent Bitcoin exchange, 'appeared to be on the verge of collapse late Monday, raising questions about the future of a volatile marketplace.'

'On Monday night, a number of leading Bitcoin companies jointly announced that Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for most of Bitcoin’s existence, was planning to file for bankruptcy after months of technological problems and what appeared to have been a major theft. A document circulating widely in the Bitcoin world said the company had lost 744,000 Bitcoins in a theft that had gone unnoticed for years. That would be about 6 percent of the 12.4 million Bitcoins in circulation.'

Maybe the U.S. Dollar isn't so bad after all."

Link to Original Source
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Spying by N.S.A. Ally Ensnared U.S. Law Firm

mendax mendax writes  |  about 2 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting that '[t]he list of those caught up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.

'A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States. The disclosure offers a rare glimpse of a specific instance in which Americans were ensnared by the eavesdroppers, and is of particular interest because lawyers in the United States with clients overseas have expressed growing concern that their confidential communications could be compromised by such surveillance.

'The government of Indonesia had retained the law firm for help in trade talks, according to the February 2013 document. It reports that the N.S.A.’s Australian counterpart, the Australian Signals Directorate, notified the agency that it was conducting surveillance of the talks, including communications between Indonesian officials and the American law firm, and offered to share the information.'"

Link to Original Source
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Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.

mendax mendax writes  |  about 2 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting, 'Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

Using “web crawler” software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden “scraped data out of our systems” while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” the official said. The process, he added, was “quite automated.”

The findings are striking because the N.S.A.’s mission includes protecting the nation’s most sensitive military and intelligence computer systems from cyber attacks, especially the sophisticated attacks that emanate from Russia and China. Mr. Snowden’s “insider attack,” by contrast, was hardly sophisticated and should have been easily detected, investigators found.'"

Link to Original Source
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Warrantless Surveillance Challenged by Defendant

mendax mendax writes  |  about 3 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting that a "Colorado resident charged with terrorism-related offenses challenged the constitutionality on Wednesday of a 2008 law allowing the National Security Agency to conduct a sweeping program of surveillance without warrants on American soil. The challenge — the first of its kind — could lead to a Supreme Court test of the program.

"At the same time, a Federal District Court judge in Illinois ordered the government to show a defense lawyer classified materials related to the national security surveillance of his client. No defense lawyer has apparently ever been allowed to see such materials since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was enacted in 1978.

"Together, the two actions are significant developments in efforts to obtain more judicial review of the legality of surveillance conducted on domestic soil for national security purposes amid continuing fallout from leaks about N.S.A. wiretapping by Edward J. Snowden, a former agency contractor.""

Link to Original Source
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Russia Plans to Extend Edward Snowden's Asylum

mendax mendax writes  |  about 3 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting, "Russia plans to extend its offer of asylum to Edward J. Snowden beyond August, a Russian lawmaker said Friday at the World Economic Forum.... The lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of Parliament, hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary refugee status for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might be indefinite. “He will not be sent out of Russia,” Mr. Pushkov said. “It will be up to Snowden.”"
Link to Original Source
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Russia Issues Travel Warning to Its Citizens About United States and Extradition

mendax mendax writes  |  about 7 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times reports that the Russian government is warning its citizens to not travel to countries that have an extradition treaty with the United States, noting that "detentions of Russian citizens in various countries, at the request of American law enforcement, have become more frequent." The article reports the Russian foreign ministry as saying,"Experience shows that the judicial proceedings against those who were in fact kidnapped and taken to the U.S. are of a biased character, based on shaky evidence, and clearly tilted toward conviction.""
Link to Original Source
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Warrantless Cellphone Tracking Is Upheld

mendax mendax writes  |  about 9 months ago

mendax (114116) writes "The New York Times is reporting, "In a significant victory for law enforcement, a federal appeals court on Tuesday said that government authorities could extract historical location data directly from telecommunications carriers without a search warrant. The closely watched case, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is the first ruling that squarely addresses the constitutionality of warrantless searches of historical location data stored by cellphone service providers. Ruling 2 to 1, the court said a warrantless search was 'not per se unconstitutional' because location data was 'clearly a business record' and therefore not protected by the Fourth Amendment.'" The article pointed out that this went squarely against a New Jersey Supreme Court opinion rendered earlier this month but noted that the state court's ruling was based upon the text of the state's constitution, not that of the federal constitution."
Link to Original Source

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