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Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

njnnja Re:Censorship? (413 comments)

Is there a +1 Meta moderation? Or should it be -1 Meta? I'm going to keep reading your post and gp post until my head explodes. Well played, sir.

2 days ago
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Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

njnnja Re:LOL ... (783 comments)

No no no...clearly you need some kind of further explanation, perhaps a metaphor, or even an analogy, using some kind of personal transportation technology in order for this to make sense. I am sure that one of the many knowledgeable commenters on this site will provide one shortly.

2 days ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

njnnja Re:Open protocols (296 comments)

This is a great idea and wonderful in it's simplicity. I actually assumed that this was the BB CEO's proposal, and that the summary and the article was just misunderstanding.

But no, he really is saying that we should continue to have closed protocols, just that their sponsors should be forced by the government to put them on Blackberries. Interestingly, he only mentions that they should be forced to run on iPhones, Android, and Blackberry, and doesn't mention Windows phones - "iMessage for me and not for thee!". So I can only assume that his proposal isn't really about forcing app "openness" (which is a stupid idea, but at least it's a coherent idea), but rather just a simple handout from the makers of online services to his company. Which I guess is his job to do, but I hope nobody takes this seriously.

2 days ago
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Healthcare.gov Sends Personal Data To Over a Dozen Tracking Websites

njnnja Re: Wow... Just "no". (203 comments)

Those are all excellent points that can help us to increase the *supply* of health care (which is something that should be done no matter what is done on the allocation side). But we should not fool ourselves into thinking that we can ever make the amount of health care that could be supplied equal to the amount of health care that we want. For the former will always be finite and the latter will always be infinite (mod singularity).

So even after increasing the supply with the kind of reforms you suggest, we will still have the problem of how do we allocate those resources. And if we continue to use the current Rube Goldberg contraption we will still have problems.

3 days ago
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Healthcare.gov Sends Personal Data To Over a Dozen Tracking Websites

njnnja Re: Wow... Just "no". (203 comments)

I don't think the U.S. can afford all the health care Americans want

All discussions of the health care system needs to start and end with agreement on this quote, if nothing else. Of course we can't afford all the health care that we want; we also can't afford all of the iPhones that we want, or education, or anything, really. Economics is the study of how we allocate finite resources to try to satisfy infinite wants, and nowhere is that more stark than with health care.

Whether the method for allocating those finite resources is a price system, a queueing system, a random drawing, or otherwise, there are always trade-offs. The problem with health care is that nobody wants to acknowledge that some trade-off will be required. If you only use prices, then the poor won't get as much care as the rich. If you only use queues, then everybody will suffer with ailments during the wait. So we have this phenomenally complex system that tries to pretend that there are no limits to our medical resources, because while we are generally OK with the fact that rich people can have the latest iphone while others make do with generic android, or that you wait in line to get a table at your favorite restaurant, we are apparently not OK with hearing that someone doesn't get exactly the health care that they want when they want it because they don't have enough money, or other people with the same problem have booked the doctor's time for weeks.

Once we are honest about who we are willing to deny care to, then we can have a productive conversation about health care. Everyone can say "This is how I think care should be allocated" and we would create a system that allocates resources according to the wishes of the people, as expressed by their elected representatives. But instead we create layer upon layer of employer backed insurance, and government backed insurance, with some private delivery, but some public delivery, so that nobody can understand it. So now people's positions on health care reform are mere reflections of mood affiliation rather than of what they actually want out of the system.

3 days ago
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Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

njnnja Re:real question (289 comments)

Off topic but I hope this helps:

Powerful magnetic stud finder. Works better than just a magnet, and better than any kind of auto sensing electronics or something. I have inch thick lathe and plaster walls so the studs are waaaaay back there but this works really well. It takes a little practice to get used to the very subtle pull but once you get the touch it works wonders.

4 days ago
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Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

njnnja Re:Both of you are off the mark (237 comments)

So many things wrong here

For term life you absolutely care about the financial stability of the company. Term life isn't "short-term" like 6 months, it's "short term" like 10-20 years. Property insurance is typically a 1 year term and the difference between a company that looks like it will be able to pay it's bills for 1 year versus one that can pay for the next 20 is huge. Just ask pets.com.

Your understanding of whole life is totally incorrect. Whole life is a life insurance policy that does not terminate after a set number of years; rather, as long as you can cover the cost of premiums, it continues to be in force. An annuity is an entirely different product (although it can also be sold by insurance companies).

As for dying in year 29 of the 30 year term policy, he is referring to the fact that since you are still in the term, you should get the death benefit (whether you paid as a single premium or annual premiums is not so important). The problem is if the company goes bankrupt in year, say, 24, then you don't get a death benefit. True, you aren't on the hook for premiums after the company goes belly up, but if you get 30 year term insurance as a healthy 35 year old, then the company goes bankrupt after 24 years (when you are 59), you are in big trouble. You were paying relatively cheap premiums that took into account that you have been paying since you were 35, but now you have to go find another company and get a new policy, now as a 59 year old. And if you have developed health issues since then it's even worse.

4 days ago
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Google Aims To Be Your Universal Translator

njnnja Re:Baby Names are pure comedy gold (122 comments)

Proper nouns that are regular words can definitely provide some laughs for machine translation, but it's not as bad as it seems. Even to a native English speaker, a kid named North West is kind of funny.

Understanding a foreign language will always require some knowledge of the culture and society from which you are translating from, and so if you know the culture has kids named for "Sky" and "Hope" then to see those words pop up in sentences where it doesn't really fit you aren't surprised.

The best example of this is in Hofstader's GEB, where he talks about translating Dostoevsky to English. The translator has a choice to make when copying the name of the main street. It is an actual Russian word, that has an English translation. So maybe you translate the street name to it's English equivalent. But the Russian street name is a common Russian street name, whereas in English it's not a common name for a street at all. So maybe instead of simply directly translating the Russian name, you change it to a nice, comfortable English street name, like "Elm Street." He ends up humorously suggesting the best choice in translation might be to just read a Dickens novel!

about two weeks ago
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Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

njnnja Re:Anyone else concerned? (164 comments)

And I bet all of a sudden a lot of medical people are saying "wait, he did what?" and "where can I get one?".

And even more patients are going to say that. Hopefully someone listens....

about two weeks ago
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In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages

njnnja Re:Yay, religion of peace! (490 comments)

"Peace through tyranny!"

-Megatron

about two weeks ago
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Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

njnnja Re:Fear (512 comments)

This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day. Of course politics decides who is in a country. Or are you saying that these people all just happened to slip and fall into a bullet for entirely non-political reasons?

about two weeks ago
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Intel Pledges $300 Million To Improve Diversity In Tech

njnnja Re:Waste of money (341 comments)

I don't mean to make it sound like it's hopeless, but IIRC boys score like 40 points higher on the math SAT than girls, and take something like 2/3 of the comp sci and calculus AP tests. They are already "put off" or "dropped out" well before this kind of intervention.

Although some people do make big changes, I think that on average, people who are coding at age 14 are much more likely to end up in a STEM profession then someone who wasn't. So why not fix the root of the problem rather than try to readjust things at a much later date?

about two weeks ago
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Intel Pledges $300 Million To Improve Diversity In Tech

njnnja Re:Waste of money (341 comments)

Sure, I'll buy that mentoring/role-modelling is a pretty good answer. But then shouldn't you just pay women who are currently in STEM fields to mentor school age girls? Or pay their way through workshops that will enable them to to it themselves?

I don't mean to be down on someone trying to help, but the idea that we are going to correct a 70/30 split in high schoolers by equalizing college and the workplace first and then hope that it feeds back just doesn't seem like it will be that effective. Not that it won't work for sure, but why not apply a patch directly to where the tire is leaking?

about two weeks ago
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Intel Pledges $300 Million To Improve Diversity In Tech

njnnja Re:Waste of money (341 comments)

Unfortunately it's a small chance. Most of the difference in interest/ability/selection/whatever in STEM by gender is already evident by the end of high school. Too lazy to look it up now, but you can look at things like math SAT scores, AP calculus scores, intended major selection, etc. and see that there is already a pretty significant difference between the sexes already. And it's already so big that it doesn't really get bigger over time. Since a stitch in time saves nine, it seems like the best use of scarce resources would be to try to deal with whatever is happening in high school (or even middle school) where the discrepancies start.

Note that this doesn't depend on settling whether the difference is nature or nurture, just that you can see the difference in a bunch of 18 year old kids. So solutions that address the concerns of 20 and 30 year olds, however worthy they may be in and of themselves, seem to be forever swimming against the current.

about two weeks ago
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Inside Cryptowall 2.0 Ransomware

njnnja Re:So how are these spread? (181 comments)

Although developers encourage this kind of thing by using flash and requiring javascript to display content, there is plenty of blame for users too. Heaven forbid a page might refresh! Users are demanding that websites look and feel like native applications, and the way to do that is to run things client side, like a native application does. Users want shiny shiny, regardless of the problems it causes.

about two weeks ago
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Early Bitcoin Adopters Facing Extortion Threats

njnnja Re:Told you so (106 comments)

The only reason CHF is stable is because there are so many Europeans who want to get our of EUR denominated assets that the SNB needs to actively intervene to defend its currency. Neither capital flight (from the Euro) nor currency manipulation (from the CHF) is a particularly enviable position to be in. And Petro-Euro will replace Petro-Dollar when CDG ensures free transit around the Persian Gulf instead of the Fifth Fleet.

Lastly, a weaker US dollar (due to sales from China) would make foreign goods more expensive in America, but would not lead to massive inflation, because 1) the US is a large, diversified economy that, despite a persistent current account deficit, produces enough that it could largely sustain itself on entirely dollar denominated goods and 2) to the extent that the dollar depreciates and imports become more expensive, no one is hurt by that more than China. So even if China could flood the market with USD (which it can't without the Fed simultaneously running an incompetent monetary policy), it wouldn't want to.

about three weeks ago
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How Amazon's Ebook Subscriptions Are Changing the Writing Industry

njnnja Re:Freedom (250 comments)

Despite being an author, Scalzi doesn't realize what business he is in. He is not in the e-book writing business, where you are correct that Amazon is the dominant player. He is in the entertainment business, and competes against the likes of JJ Abrams, Vince Gilligan, and LeBron James.

The pot is not fixed; the more people who read books, the larger the pot will be, and the more people who watch live sports or go to the movies instead, the smaller the pot will be. While this is distinctly different from the past where the amount of money spent on books was dependent on the number of books read, in the digital world it makes a lot more sense to charge access to a library (aka netflix, spotify, etc) than to charge people on a per item basis. Once someone writes a book, or records a song, or makes a movie, the marginal cost of having one more person enjoy that entertainment is very small. Therefore why should the income for an author be proportional to the number of e-books distributed? Just because we are used to spending 5 cents for a nail, and $5.00 for one hundred nails, doesn't mean that that is the only or even the best way to charge for most things, especially in the digital age.

The old method of charging per book meant that whether the industry sold 100 books to 100 people or a single, voracious reader didn't make any difference to the income stream. A subscription basis is good for the voracious reader, because it is cheaper, but requires the industry (including authors) to be more attractive to a larger number of potential readers. This situates them properly not as competition for other authors, but rather, for other elements of leisure time

about three weeks ago
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Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

njnnja Re:this is ridiculous (440 comments)

tl;dr: Many functions are non-linear

Once upon a time, I owned a VCR and could have time-shifted shows whenever I wanted. All I had to do was set up the timer once, then when it was time to record a show, make sure there was a tape in there, and push a couple of buttons to define the start time, end time, and channel. I could watch the show just by finding the right tape (which took all of 5 seconds to label properly), inserting, spending less than a minute or so to rewind to the proper place, and watch the show.

Now I have a DVR and I can still time-shift, although it is a bit easier. Instead of finding the correct time and station in the TV Guide magazine, I use the on-screen guide to find it, push the appropriate button, then (generally) click straight through the defaults and it will record the show. To watch, I press the "DVR" button, scroll around until I find the show, and press play. It's probably a total difference of 2 minutes to program the VCR vs 30 seconds to record on a DVR.

But when I had a VCR, I almost never time-shifted, but with a DVR, I almost never watch live tv. Sometimes what appears to be a slight change in the quantitative cost of something can lead to a large qualitative change in behavior. And the difference between surveillance by squad car and having cameras everywhere is like the difference between a 4000 lb VCR versus a DVR that records every station all the time.

about a month ago
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Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages

njnnja Re:Web Searches For These Suck (127 comments)

Agreed. But my biggest adjustment was learning how to read code that I wrote 3 months ago not using loops.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Hotel charges guests $500 for bad online reviews

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about 6 months ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "In an incredibly misguided attempt to reduce the quantity of bad reviews (such as these), the Union Street Guest House, a hotel about 2 hours outside of New York City, had instituted a policy to charge groups such as wedding parties $500 for each bad review posted online. The policy has been removed from their webpage but the wayback machine has archived the policy.

If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review.

"
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Social Media Company Stock CYNK is Worth $5 Billion Despite No Revenue or Assets

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about 6 months ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "In what might be considered a sign that there is another tech bubble, social media company CYNK stock has been on a tear lately, and in the course of about a month has increased in value about 25,000%, and now has a market cap of over $6 billion. However, the company appears to have no revenue, no assets, and only one employee."
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Artist Creates Graphical Depiction of Science Fiction Spaceships

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about a year ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "German artist Dirk Loechel has created a 10 MB large poster that graphically depicts the size of major (and some not-so major) spaceships from the canons of dozens of science fiction movies, shows, and novels. Visit his posting here and prepare to lose the rest of your afternoon."
Link to Original Source
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North Korea's Twitter and Flickr Accounts Hacked by Anonymous

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about 2 years ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "With tensions on the Korean peninsula continuing to rise, Anonymous hacked into the government-run North Korean Flickr site to post a "wanted" poster for NK leader Kim Jong Un. It says that he is wanted for "threatening world peace" and "wasting money while his people starve to death". They also hacked into NK's Twitter account and posted a link to the Flickr page."
Link to Original Source

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