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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

scotts13 Re:there is a solution to law enforement for profi (391 comments)

it will require a constitutional amendment

1. no government entity (fees, fines, tolls, tariffs, settlements, and seizures) may use non-tax monies for any of its operating expenses
2. all non-tax revenue are distributed evenly amongst the citizens of the collecting jurisdiction on an annual basis

People who break the law or use limited government services still pay. People who don't break the law and don't use services are rewarded with an extra tax refund. And politicians can't be sneaky about the amount of money they spend since 100% of it will have to come directly from taxes.

Of course this will never happen because of entrenched power and the 1% benefiting from the current system fleecing the general public.

This. PLEASE! I've been saying it for years.

2 days ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

scotts13 Re:Really? This is a problem! (391 comments)

You can't count on law-breaking as an income model, or you by definition automatically have no moral right to claim it's for safety. The ultimate goal of whatever system you put in place is to put itself out of business. Instead, the system is put in place to serve itself and NEVER accomplish it's goal of stopping people from breaking the law.

But it's the system we HAVE. It's not called the corrections industry for nothing; one of the largest businesses in the country is catching people and punishing them. There's a reason we have the largest per-capita incarceration rate in the world. If there were no crime... the cops, lawyers, prison guards, surveillance equipment company employees, would all be out of work. For heavens sake, if you're a patriot and love your country, support it by breaking the law today!

2 days ago
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Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

scotts13 Re:The problem with this is where to stop (366 comments)

Also, how is wholesale genetic engineering for positive traits like this really different from eugenics? I don't get it.

Largely in that "eugenics" is a word associated with a Very Bad Politician and therefore cannot be said in polite company. All it really means is "The practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population." A noble goal, to be sure. Like many things, however, eugenics can be practiced the innocuous way or the horrifying way.

about a week ago
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Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

scotts13 Re:Changing the system? (366 comments)

Wouldn't the embryos change by the simple action of observing it?

For obvious reasons, you want to do your culling before fertilization occurs. In Heinlein's story, they examined the otherwise-wasted polar body thrown off during the development of the cell. The genetic content of the final cell can be inferred from that. Not sure how well that would work out, real-world; but the story was written in 1942, and the idea hasn't been discredited yet (that I could find).

about a week ago
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Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

scotts13 Science fiction has solutions for this (366 comments)

Positive side: Heinlein's "Beyond this Horizon"
Negative side: Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons"

If we don't do the first, we get the second. There's a reasonable argument that natural selection isn't working anymore, and in fact may have been reversed. At one point, poor eyesight or ADD meant the sabre-tooth edited you out of the gene pool. So, we'll have to add the chlorine ourselves. I'm not sure we should be editing genes directly, but selecting the best gametes from the available pool (for a given set of parents) à la Heinlein almost HAS to be done at some point.

about a week ago
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Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

scotts13 Re:For me? yes. (481 comments)

They're one of the few species i dont eat on purely ethical grounds. Cats and dogs I wouldn't eat on nutritional grounds, or other higher-order predators for that matter, but I guess that could be argued to be another sort of ethical reasoning.

A few years ago I saw a YouTube clip of a scuba diver whose camera was literally stolen by the octopus he was filming, who then proceeded to taunt the diver and make him give chase to wrest it back from the cephalopod. Holy shit! I thought, that sea creature is trolling this guy! And with that i decided i would no longer eat them. "Ability to troll" may not be a very scientific (or very high for that matter) bar I guess, but it apparently is mine. YMMV. Damn shame too, as i used to love eating them.

Agreed. While I've never easten octopus, I have previously enjoyed squid, something I may re-consider. Arbitrary, perhaps - but they're personal standards.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Eyes Crew Deep Sleep Option For Mars Mission

scotts13 Re:well who's (236 comments)

going to watch the kettle? so to speak.

I imagine they would have to have one hell of an upgrade in remote control or assisted
intelligence to handle any emergencies.

~G

One just has to be careful of the acronym used for the computers name, and assiduously avoid omnipresent red-glowing video eyes. Then you'll be fine.

about three weeks ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

scotts13 What difference does it make? (534 comments)

When they land, they'll be a demonstrated fact. Religious faith deals with the invisible and unprovable; it's not involved in observable ET's. The alien's beliefs? We'll ask them. Only problem is, if they ry to convert us.

about three weeks ago
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Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

scotts13 Re:Let me tell you (408 comments)

Those white plastic laptops of Apples got quite a few calls into their support center.
#1: yellowing and cracking of plastic.
#2: Hard drive failure
#3: Battery failure

I think with the 3 items combined, the failure rate must have been in the high %30 mark.

Anyone that owned one shoudl be able to verify that.

Hmm, I was service manager at an Apple authorized computer store. Fixed hundreds of white plastic MacBooks. I would think that, given a long enough timespan, you could get to 30% failure on those three items, collectively. But certainly not within warranty, and generally not due to manufacturing defects.

I never saw any yellowing that wasn't caused by abuse. And I mean cigarette burns, being left on top of a radiator, etc. Cracks on the keyboard bezel, sure. That WAS a design flaw. Cosmetic only, BTW - didn't affect function. Apple fixed them all, in or out of warranty.

Hard drives fail. Apple doesn't make them. Look up the manufacturers specs for G's of impact in operation, and compare that to the way MacBooks are used. Mostly by students... We had one guy who was using his laptop on the seat of a moving, off-road truck. Apple replaced that hard drive, four times that I know of, in and out of warranty - at no charge. Eventually he got a free upgrade to an Air, with SSD. Solved.

Battery failure. Well, batteries are expendable items. I would say 95% of the batteries replaced were over their rated lifetime cycles; usually WAY over. The few that weren't, were also replaced free, in or out of warranty.

about a month ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

scotts13 Re:Yahoo knew fine was a bluff (223 comments)

How can you fine someone for not cooperating in activities that the government refused to even admit existed?

...by having lots of people with guns on hand. They can do whatever they want, ESPECIALLY if the programs are covert.

about a month and a half ago
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Researchers Working On Crystallizing Light

scotts13 Science fiction comes true (129 comments)

Back in the mid-40's, John W Campbell wrote a series of science fiction stories featuring "lux metal" which was basically matter composed of photons instead of electrons, protons, and neutrons. It had, shall we say, "interesting" properties. Wasn't easy to manufacture, either.

about a month and a half ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

scotts13 So, they've reached the limits of human endurance (819 comments)

You can't physically cram people any tighter, and fights are breaking out. Good. When they discover they're losing more on bad PR and flight diversions than they're gaining, they'll put back the inch or two - for a while. Now that they've reached bottom, the floor will just bounce from now on; the came couple of inches continually added and subtracted subtracted every 2-3 years, forever.

As far as blaming people for not buying an upgrade, has anyone saying this actually looked at prices? Last couple of times I flew, I looked into it; a little more room doesn't cost you 10% or 20%, it's more like double or triple the ticket price. Actually habitable travel accommodations are only for the wealthy.

about a month and a half ago
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California Blue Whales Rebound From Whaling

scotts13 Just by coincidence (91 comments)

Japan has just now announced they're resuming whaling for "scientific research" in defiance of a UN ban. They're after minke whales, and a smaller number of fin and humpback whales, not blues... but the timing is odd. Maybe they think Sea Shepherd will be confused, and think they don't have to show up?

about a month and a half ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

scotts13 Re:Or he was actually crazy (441 comments)

We still don't have any facts, other than public officials covering their posteriors. We "know" he wrote a letter someone didn't like. Only that. You go to psych lockup for writing one letter these days?

"McLaw's letter was of primary concern to healthcare officials, Maciarello says. It, combined with complaints of alleged harassment and an alleged possible crime from various jurisdictions led to his suspension. Maciarello cautions that these allegations are still being investigated; authorities, he says, "proceeded with great restraint."

Alleged possible crime? As in, we don't know if it happened, and we're not sure it was a crime?

about 1 month ago
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Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

scotts13 2048? (258 comments)

What makes them think there will be safe rail lines or functioning trains in 2048? Let alone going to whatever god-forsaken place they decide to store the stuff.

about 2 months ago
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Watch UK Inventor Colin Furze Survive a Fireworks Blast In a Metal Suit

scotts13 I was hoping to something a bit more "Iron Man"... (54 comments)

... and a lot less stupid. A form-fitting, immobile steel coffin with almost no visibility has got to be the least pleasant way to watch fireworks imaginable. Especially if you fall over face first while "standing" in it.

about 2 months ago
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South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

scotts13 It's all ass covering (421 comments)

God forbid the kid ever does anything violent for the rest of his life. Then, everything he's ever written, said, or done comes under scrutiny. And anyone who ever saw it, and didn't report it to "proper authorities" goes under the bus with him. Gotta over your ass, just in case.

Not-news for these "authorities" - there isn't a teenage boy (or a lot of girls) born that hasn't fantasized violence, against more than an entirely fictional dinosaur, at least once. A lot of them even write it down. But as long as they don't know about it, no one cares.

about a month ago
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South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

scotts13 Re:I had to switch my stepson's junior high school (421 comments)

Pffft! I had a riflery class at my christian summer camp. When I was nine. I was a pretty good shot. Good thing I didn't write a story about it.

about a month ago
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DEA Paid Amtrak Employee To Pilfer Passenger Lists

scotts13 Allowed to retire without disciplinary action (127 comments)

That's just amazing. Any company I've worked for, I'd be strung up by the heels for giving away customer data, let alone selling it for the better part of a million dollars. One article notes "It was not clear whether the DEA has rules against soliciting corporate insiders to provide confidential customer information in exchange for money." Really, they need a specific rule against that? I can see a DEA official whispering in someone's ear "Shut up, shut up, let it go and just let her retire."

about 2 months ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

scotts13 Explore the past (246 comments)

I'm more a historian than an explorer. It really bothers me to walk around my former mining town, only 150 years old, and there are old structures (foundations, dams, remnants of bridges, etc.) that no one remember what they were from. Wish there were easier ways to research them; have to get to work on that flux capacitor.

about 2 months ago

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