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Comments

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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

njnnja Re:So... (401 comments)

Yes clearly my recommendation is jurisdiction-limited. In most countries they would probably wonder why you are talking about a state attorney general in the first place, as I doubt it's a common title outside of the US. Of course, a customer service rep in plenty of countries would probably wonder why you are speaking in English to them in the first place.

But seriously even if I had the choice between a bureaucrat in a well-functioning regulatory body versus an aggressive American lawyer I would still pick the attorney general to best protect my interests.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

njnnja Re:So... (401 comments)

The correct hard ball approach is: I am recording this call and forwarding to my state attorneys general

FTFY. Large companies generally aren't afraid of most government agencies, due to regulatory capture. But tell them that you might be in touch with the office of an ambitious politician with subpoena power and suddenly they become very helpful.

about two weeks ago
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Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones

njnnja Re:You know ... (358 comments)

Yes it does. At least, it means more distance is covered during your reaction time, which is the same thing as driving slower and having an impaired reaction time due to not paying attention.

about a month ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

njnnja Re:Massive conspiracy (465 comments)

if the IRS should be allowed aggressive auditing powers (and I'm not saying they shouldn't), then it's only fair that an elected body such as Congress should have the right to aggressively audit those audits to ensure those powers aren't being abused. If the IRS can get out of that check by losing particular emails that is a serious problem, just as if the political non profits being audited could avoid problems by disposing of evidence they would rather not have the IRS look at

about a month and a half ago
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America 'Has Become a War Zone'

njnnja Re:War of government against people? (875 comments)

But a negative correlation can DISprove cause-and-effect.

Unfortunately even that isn't true: see Simpson's Paradox. Not to pick on you, but it is really tough to make strong assertions one way or the other based on social science data. I think the best we can do is a Bayesian approach; start with some prior assumption based on ideology and personal experience, then adjust that prior based on the results of scientific studies. So in parent poster's case, his prior is that guns are pretty good in society, so the reinforcing data point that more guns = less crime makes his belief stronger. Someone whose prior is that guns are bad should probably not be as affected by that data (and if they are being intellectually honest, it would lessen their conviction that guns are bad), and someone who really had no opinion (if you could find such a person!) should be slightly more positively disposed to guns with that data. Of course, another study will typically come out shortly thereafter saying the opposite, so unless you get a series of studies all going in one direction, science will typically not change people's minds.

about 2 months ago
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Evidence of Protoplanet Found On Moon

njnnja Re:I'm ignorant (105 comments)

With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.

- John von Neumann

Von Neumann said it; that's close enough to a law for me!

about 2 months ago
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How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

njnnja Re:Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets (286 comments)

But the effects of this on the non-zero sum economy are important to consider. If the new markings actually do discourage parking in front of the hydrant, then both New Yorkers and the New York Government can be better off because of the improved ability to control fires, thereby reducing damage and protecting firefighters. Hence the knowledge gained from proper analysis of the data makes the world a better place.

about 2 months ago
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Apple WWDC 2014: Tim Cook Unveils Yosemite

njnnja Prediction (411 comments)

I'm not sure which of these technologies will be successful in the coming months, but I am certain that before the year is over we will see many job postings requiring 3 years experience with Swift.

about a month ago
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German Authorities Lack Evidence To Prosecute Anyone For NSA Spying

njnnja Re:Lotteries (107 comments)

Sounds like jury duty. Which was (and still is) one of the best technologies to fight tyranny.

about 2 months ago
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German Authorities Lack Evidence To Prosecute Anyone For NSA Spying

njnnja Re:Germany can't prosecute Americans (107 comments)

The Nazi's what understood quite well? (check your possessive apostrophe)

I'll let someone else make the appropriate joke about a grammar nazi comment about real Nazis. So to feel like I contributed something serious to the discussion, I'll simply add that, whatever they understood about SIGINT, the Nazis were pwned by the English-speaking world too.

about 2 months ago
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Federal Court Pulls Plug On Porn Copyright Shakedown

njnnja Re:The US needs a loser-pays legal system (136 comments)

I agree that the first order effects should assume that the system generally works, but it is also important to consider second order effects of the inevitable failures that will occur, and whether the consequences of those failures are acceptable.

However, even the secondary effects of a loser pays system aren't too bad. It would add some Type I error for a (hopefully much larger) reduction in Type II error, which probably makes the system a little better overall.

about 2 months ago
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With the Surface Pro, Microsoft Is Trying To Recreate the PC Market

njnnja Re:Go die (379 comments)

The aqueduct?

about 2 months ago
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The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC

njnnja Re:It's a monster (262 comments)

Slight correction - it's a 2.4L engine...to run the fuel pump.

about 2 months ago
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Fusion Power By 2020? Researchers Say Yes and Turn To Crowdfunding.

njnnja Re:Crowdfunding? (280 comments)

This is why I do not like kickstarter-like equity investments. Kickstarter and Indiegogo should give away free shirts that say "I was an initial investor in a billion dollar company and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." If somebody puts their hard earned money at risk, they should reap the equity-like rewards. Then they can use the proceeds to buy whatever thing the entrepreneurs are selling.

about 2 months ago
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As NASA Seeks Next Mission, Russia Holds the Trump Card

njnnja Re:Eric Burger asks, how did it come to this? (250 comments)

The USPS is a bad comparison to make. The USPS pension fund is a public pension fund, whereas social security (OASDI) and Medicare are social insurance programs. There are good reasons why the accounting for these should be different. In fact, the issue that you point out with the USPS pension fund arose when they forced a public pension plan (the USPS) to check for actuarial balance similar to a social insurance program (the 75 year long-term actuarial balance), instead of the simple employer accounting basis under GASB 68 (which is similar to the FAS 87/88 standard for private firms)

I am not arguing that PAYG is the *worst* accounting for social insurance programs, and in fact I don't think that. There are many good reasons why PAYG with some sort of short term/long term checks of actuarial balance *can* be appropriate measures for the health of a social insurance plan. However, OP said OASDI and Medicare are in SURPLUS, full stop, and I think that greatly oversimplifies the issues involved.

Disclaimer: I am an actuary, but no longer in active practice.

about 2 months ago
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As NASA Seeks Next Mission, Russia Holds the Trump Card

njnnja Re:Eric Burger asks, how did it come to this? (250 comments)

that tax brought in a SURPLUS every year.

Only by a very limited definition of surplus, used by what is called pay-as-you-go accounting. Under accrual accounting ("generally accepted accounting principles"), which the government does not have to follow, SS and Medicare did not run surpluses. The difference is this: under pay as you go, as long as the cash that you pay to beneficiaries during the year is less than the cash taken in by the taxes taken in during the year, you are balanced. However, under accrual accounting, the things that must be balanced are not the cash flows, but rather, the promised benefits and the promised taxes.

As an example, If you get a $1000 paycheck at the end of the week, and you spend $900, then you have $100 at the end of the week, and under any definition you had a surplus. But if you get a $1000 paycheck, and you spend $1050, you did not run a surplus (and probably depleted some of your bank account). Lastly, if you get a $1000 paycheck, then you spend $1050, and you borrow $150 from a friend, you have $100 cash left over at the end of the week. But because you have promised $150 to your friend, which is more than the $100 cash you have left over, you have not run a surplus. That is the situation SS and Medicare have found themselves in - sound from a pay as you go basis, but not promising to tax enough/promising too many benefits to be sound on an accrual basis

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

njnnja Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (281 comments)

Agreed. Between Django's built in admin interface and mysql editors like adminer you can do an awful lot without any code at all. And a web interface has the advantages that it 1) is easy to run dev/production environments, 2) is easy to make changes and ensure that everyone is using them, 3) runs on obsolete equipment (anything that can run a browser), 4) mobile/tablet ready, and 5) scalable.

But also important, while other people are arguing that spreadsheets and access and the like could be run better by non-technical people, I think it is more accurate to say those could be run poorly by non technical people. If the business needs require db storage and a proper GUI, then the project will always need someone who can run a db and gui, not "someone who knows some excel." Maybe you even give somebody the opportunity to develop some DBA skills, or a little python, and you have probably done as much good for that person as the charity itself.

Lastly, in our day jobs, we spend enough time doing things we don't want to do, the way we don't want to do it, because the people who sign our check want it this way. You are volunteering your time and expertise, and if you think the right way to do it ("right" from a technical or moral/ethical perspective) is to not use MS products then that's how you do it. If somebody else thinks spreadsheets and vba are the way to do it then they should get in contact with your charity and do it themselves.

about 3 months ago
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EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games

njnnja Re:If they programmed it correctly (329 comments)

almost nothing of any value is programmed correctly

Wish I had mod points today. Best comment I've read in a while

about 3 months ago
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UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released

njnnja Re:Ban them all you want (180 comments)

It is always better though to help the particular country address their actual problems rather than supporting their approach

What if a country's "actual problem" is that the head of the country wants the land, money, resources, or extermination of a neighbor? It seems like these have been much more common reasons for war throughout history than perceived threats or misunderstandings

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about three weeks 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 10 months 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 a year 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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