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US Preserves Smallpox For Defense

tarlss It's Evolution, Baby. (248 comments)

Smallpox was naturally derived from cowpox. Cowpox is found in animals such as cows, rats and cats. It could very well develop again. Why wouldn't it be a smart idea to keep a hold of small pox just in case? Viruses are highly mutative, we gain a lot of knowledge from holding onto smallpox. There's three scenarios here:

1. Smallpox is delivered as a weapon, either from hidden stockpiles or reverse engineered from cowpox : We use our stockpiles to make vaccine
2. Smallpox is found again in nature, as a natural derivative of cowpox : We use our stockpiles to make vaccine
3. Some other derivative of cowpox shows up due to naturally mutating viruses: We use our stockpiles to compare the two strains, find out why it mutated the way it did, and develop a vaccine.

1 and 3 are likely to happen, as a result of human nature, and good old fashioned nature respectively. In an ideal world, it's conceivable all humans choose to disband biological weapons or something. But it's not realistic to think cowpox won't continue to exist and evolve as viruses do.

more than 3 years ago

Clinton Calls For "Ground Rules" Protecting Internet

tarlss Constitutional Amendment (205 comments)

How about federally guaranteeing every citizen has a connection to the internet?

How about treating internet providers like utility providers? Every land lord should have the duty to make heat, electricity, water, and internet available to citizens.

Honestly, I think we should make it a constitutional amendment to grant citizens the right to access an unfettered and open internet.

more than 3 years ago

America Losing Its Edge In Innovation

tarlss I blame reality TV shows (757 comments)

When stupid crap like Survivor, "Jerseylicious" and other MTV pap get on television, that's what kids want to be. They want to be sassy reality TV show stars with glamorous jobs like "hair dresser" and "image-consultant". It's garbage.

Back in the day we had good science fiction. Now science fiction on television is a rarity. The Scifi channel decided it didn't want to be 'nerdy' anymore. It's entertainment that fosters ambition, and today our kids want to marry rich and act like baffoons for millions. Using technology isn't a joy or privelege for them, it's something as dry as making toast.

more than 3 years ago

Domestic Use of Aerial Drones By Law Enforcement

tarlss Helicopters (299 comments)

I don't support using drones as domestic surveillance.

I support drones having the same roles as Police helicopters, as cheaper and safer replacements for police pilots. We don't need 24/7 Monitoring of civilians or whatever.

But say, having a heavily armed assault drone as part of SWAT team equipment? This, I support. That would be awesome.
Having drones that can track high-speed chases safely (and perhaps engage in slightly more dangerous manuvers than a human-piloted helicopter might attempt)? This, I support.
Replacing a fleet of fuel guzzling, human-risking, high-maintenance helicopters for drones? This, I support.

Using them as domestic cameras, spies or monitors? No, I don't support that.

Aerial drones are the wrong tools for public deterance. That's the role of a patrolman. I can see some kind of ground based Dalek-type robot serving that role, but not an aerial drone. A police robot needs to be able to interact with citizens and offer challenge/response with real people. I wouldn't mind say, a bunch of patrol-bots monitored by policemen, that you could speak to and receive a response from real people. Something that takes over the roll of patrol-car sweeps, for instance. But something that creates a NEW function, and doesn't REPLACE existing humans with more efficient automation, I don't support.

more than 3 years ago

Next Step For US Body Scanners Could Be Trains, Metro Systems

tarlss Guards! Really! That's it! (890 comments)

You know what actually secures things?

Guards! Armed guards, with weapons! What those are is up to you. Tasers? Guns? Batons? Pepper Spray? Okay!

Afraid someone will hijack a plane? Put a guard or two on it!

Afraid someone will hijack a train? Guard.

Afraid someone will hijack a bus? Guard!

A guard isn't invasive. A guard knows his home turf. A guard doesn't require an expert to run. A guard doesn't break the 4th amendment. A guard has really nothing better to do than people watch. In the event of a real emergency, a guard can help out.
A guard deters crime and hijinks, JUST BY BEING THERE.

Cost of a scanning machine= $100,000 plus technical support and technicians
Cost of a guard= 50,000 + healthcare plus support.

I daresay, hiring transport guards seems to me the best solution. It would create more jobs, stimulate the economy, and ACTUALLY deter terrorists, as well as common thieves, criminals and mischief makers.

about 4 years ago

Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

tarlss We DO condemn radical Islam (1695 comments)


To the people who say 'Why doesn't the government condemn radical Islam?" , the fact is, we do.

The US Government, like all good government, speaks mostly through action rather than words in condemning radical Islam. Think about it.

-Supporting dictatorships in lieu of radical Islamic Groups (The US's support for Pakistan, and propping up the Shah of Iran)
-Supporting a dictatorship's war against a theocracy run by radical Muslims (Iran/Iraq War)
-Targetted killings of radical Islamicists in Iraq and Afghanistan
-Huge bounties on the heads of radical Islamicists (The hunt for Osama Bin Laden)
-Wholesale invasions of countries and the dissolution of governments that support radical Islam (Invasion of Afghanistan and the fight against the Taliban)
-Supporting moderate Muslim governments over radical ones (Visits to Egypt, funding for Pakistan and Iraq)

In fact, the American military's main goal over the past 9 years has been the suppression, destruction and dissolution of radical Islam over the years. Pretty much every armed force from the Army proper, to the CIA has been devoted to taking radical Islam to task.

Paster Terry Jones is acting like an asshat and ruining our work against radical Islam. THAT'S why we're condemning him.

When Muslims burn bibles, the Western world DOES get upset. Infact, we get so upset we make lists of the incidents and eventually take armed actions against groups that go too far. Obviously we hope that the local governments take care of things, but do you think that the US is so naive? We have diplomats and ambassadors all over the world busy 'nudging' governments whenever such actions occur.

Radical Islam taking action against blasphemers isn't a threat, it's a fact. We have armed men and women protecting us so we CAN do blasphemous acts safely. But doing them makes their job harder. It's just like you don't randomly provoke local gang-members or mafia-men: it's well within your rights to do, but is it SMART? No. Can the government protect you from retaliation? They'll TRY, but whether they'll succeed is a different matter.

Radical Muslims, like any radical members of a religion, are generally brainwashed ignorant thugs. Pastor Terry Jones is a radical Christian. Why should we treat him any differently? We should condemn his sentiments and desires, and make sure to take action in case things turn violent.

more than 4 years ago

China Bans Military Personnel From Blogging

tarlss Re:A Natural OPSEC Move (82 comments)


I wouldn't say that all military personel everywhere ever should be banned from social networking, but it makes perfect sense that active enlisted personel should not be allowed to post social network or blogs.

Any nation with any kind of practical intelligence apparatus could easily run a crawl/search that analyzes FB status updates of enlisted personel and come up with a pretty good picture of what they're doing an where, complete with photos.

I don't think this should be applied to off-duty and reservist personel unless they were activated. Honestly, it's not difficult to tell whether a reserve unit has been activated anyway (Pretty easy to tell when a good percentage of a population vanishes)- we shouldn't be infringing on more personal freedoms than necessary.

more than 4 years ago

PA Appeals Court Weighs Punishment For Students' Online Parodies

tarlss Outside of school, the law rules. (319 comments)

The principle has no power outside of school. If say, his ex-wife made such a post, there would be little he could do about it other than sue.

If say, some anonymous trolls on 4chan made such a post, they would probably get off scot-free.

The principle is obviously abusing his power, by using it to punish for acts outside of his jurisdiction. That would be like punishing children in order to coerce their parents into doing something.

more than 4 years ago

Australian Schools To Teach Intelligent Design

tarlss To be fair (714 comments)

Back in grade school we did spend a good amount of time on Greek and Native American Creation myths...discussing Christian creation myths would only be fair.

ID should be placed in the backseat of history as far as education is concerned, along with Aztec Sun Gods, Zeus and Osirus. Knowledge of that stuff is definitely important in analyzing multiple perspectives from multiple cultures, and in the long run it means ID will be considered a fanciful, romantic, and dead religion that a bunch of people got riled up about.

more than 4 years ago

Google Reportedly Ditching Windows

tarlss Isn't losing access to Office the whole point? (1003 comments)

This is Google we're talking about here.

If they're forcing googles to ditch Outlook, Excel, etc and all the other crutches they've been using for business software, what do you think these guys are going to do?

THEY'RE GOING TO PROGRAM NEW SOLUTIONS! Come on, this is Google, a major software house, that you know, has the objective of creating a competitive online alternative to Office?

This move was probably done to force programmers and office staff to get used to Office alternatives and eventually come up with their own solutions. Foster creativity through adversity.

This would be a stupid move for say, a banking firm, but this is a major software engineering house. Sure , they'll go weeks, months, maybe even years running inefficient office software, but eventually one of their engineers will get sick of it and come up with something that works.

more than 4 years ago

Mixed Signs On the State of IT Education

tarlss Re:Job applicants have cookie-cutter knowledge (257 comments)

Dude, WTF?

Maybe here's the problem.

Instead of using buzzwordalicious phrases like "Object-Relational Impedence Mismatch!"

You should probably say "Problems that crop up due to trying to translate RDBMS into Object Oriented Models"

This is exactly what I'm doing now. I recalled your term because it's basically compiler-speak. I bet people started using that because that was just an error message that your programs barfed out from time to time.

I think most people haven't heard these words because honestly, they're pretty much cumbersome and unpronounceable. I couldn't say that to...well, any other human being with a straight face and expect him to know what the hell I was talking about.

It's pretty much the symptomatic problem of trying to take a complex idea and boiling it down to a set of meaning words. I mean, come on, people are NOT HASHMAPS!

more than 4 years ago

Mixed Signs On the State of IT Education

tarlss NEWS FLASH! (257 comments)

Crusty Old Guys think New Guys Can't Hack It.

This sort of thing crops up every once in a while on Slashdot about how stupid recent college grads are. I mean, can't we go back into the old days when the REAL Geniuses like Archimedes and Newton grokked physics WITHOUT electricity! Or Indoor plumbing!

Fact is that new people haven't been grinded through the mill of real life. Eventually the worthless programmers will get fired and go work at a diner in Jersey.

Quite frankly, I've never had to manually translate hexidecimals or manage memory, but I'm still doing a great job doing what my job entails, putting together web applications in Java.

Most often memory management and binary and other low-level skills come about because of the necessity to conserve memory/increase performance. That's fine when it comes to game programming HF stock trading or other performance intensive apps.

But different jobs require different things. If it's more about getting multiple user friendly views of data, and providing an infinitely mutable codebase for such UIs, then performance takes a backseat to easy-reading, maintainability and extensibility.

A lot of the questions people are amazed can't be answered on-the-fly in an interview are easily learned/picked up from Google. I initially had no idea what a variable scope was, than I googled it..and I was like..you mean..just plain scope, right? I'm not sure it's wise to base your interview questions on things that 10 minutes of googling will solve.

Rarely will it ever be a necessity for your PROGRAMMER to memorize things, as long as he is capable of taking whatever you ask, learning it in a short period of time, and coming back with a solution.

more than 4 years ago

Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History

tarlss Lawyers mandating education (1238 comments)

This is probably moot in an electoral position, but shouldn't these books be written by people who are well, you know, experts in history?

The worst part about this farce is that someone without educational experience or relevant academic experience can just waltz in and start dictating things. What happened to the part where we actually listen to qualified experts with degrees in relevant fields?

I know that the right-wing agenda can still be reinforced by bringing in right-wing historians that do support these crackpot-proreligious theories, but at least they'd be appealing to a -fake- authority. I'm disturbed that this woman hasn't even had to bring in a Dr. So-And-So to back up her credibility.

more than 4 years ago

Too Many College Graduates?

tarlss Time to start penalizing job listers. (1138 comments)

Yeah...honestly the solution to the problem isn't to start throwing money at colleges to subsidize them or whatever..

It's to start forcing employers to start lowering there hiring standards. How much grief would we save in the country by making sure when someone says "You need a college degree" a college degree is actually required?

It doesn't require an inspecting office or anything- just allowance for suing/penalizing companies if they're clearly inflating their job requirements.
At the very least it could be handled by the Better Business Bureau- if a number of applicants complain about a job listing/etc that is clearly overestimating job requirements, some one steps in and invokes a fine.

The real way to curb inflation is actually doing something about it..because if you let inflation get 'corrected by market forces' you just wind up with a crash cycle.

more than 4 years ago

Students Flock To GMU For a Degree In Video Game Design

tarlss I started out thinking the same way.. (225 comments)

Right when I was about to graduate college I thought I was going to get into game design. I graduated from NYU, developed contacts with the local gaming companies, attended the functions...etc.

And then I realized it was all way too much effort for too little payoff. I was meeting up with family men in their 30's and 40's who were working jobs with long hours and low pay. They sacrificed high paying, slightly more boring jobs and financial firms for a shot in the games world. The only people that actually got to call the shots and make the games THEY wanted were the dudes that owned the gaming companies. And those guys weren't even hard-core programmers, they were just some guys who put together enough capital to start a business and hire programmers.
I learned that being a game programmer/designer was pretty similar to being an actor or director in the movie business. You're looking at long hours, low pay, and potentially an entire lifetime without a shot at the big leagues. You need to spend lots of time in 'the trenches' doing crappy menial work that might just be a giant waste of time.

At my current job as a business oriented programmer, I'm getting good pay, benefits, reasonable hours and a lot of leeway into how to complete my own projects and solve problems. It's a good company and from what I've heard a lot more fulfilling than spending years as a 'code-monkey' in some of the larger software sweatshops. Pretty soon I'll be able to buy some real estate and the like. After I've made some investments that give me the ability to live well without working a top dollar job, I MIGHT consider starting my own little game company startup/devoting time to an indie game.

I think the path to being a game designer is really similar to the path of being the 'shot-caller' in any other field. Amass capital, and start your own. Otherwise you're looking and years and years and years of slave-like working conditions all to common to artistic jobs, only to have to participate in drama and politics once you reach the top. I'd rather dive straight into making a startup, rather then working years as a drone, only to become the boss, and essentially windup with the same responsibilities you might have as a business owner!

more than 4 years ago

California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys

tarlss DO it right... (756 comments)

If you're actually going to legislate things so that people buy healthy food do this:
Fix prices so that HEALTHY FOOD is as CHEAP as BAD FOOD
or vice versa.

McDonalds et al. is able to sell effectively because of their huge marketing engine and ability to leverage factory-style production methods to produce food. Often this food is low quality and cheap and terrible.

The obvious answer is to offer subsidies to families/grocers/restaurants to allow them to compete with these outlets at price. You'll never be successful at asking people to increase their food budget to buy healthy meals. You will be successful at making the choice between a healthy sandwich and a burger a matter of taste rather than price/quantity. If people choose to be unhealthy when it comes down to a matter of taste and choice...then quite frankly it's not your business anymore, is it?

more than 4 years ago

Extremists Warn South Park Creators Over Muhammad In a Bear Suit

tarlss It's not the religion, it's the leaders (1131 comments)

Like an earlier post has stated, the Islamic world/Middle East was not always a cesspool of extremism and terrorism. Before the 1979 Islamic revolution and the creation of Israel, the Middle East was as calm a place as any other.

What happened to the Middle East was the same thing that happened to Africa. Years of colonial control under European nations suddenly evaporated after WWII. As a result, lots of crazy came to the surface and extremists took power.

It's the Western world's own damn fault for creating these terrorists and pirates. We imposed Western ideals onto these cultures by force, and as a result it poisoned them to all of our ideas, not only the bad, but also the good. The lesson they learned is that a small number of men leveraging technology, guns and social propaganda can cower an entire populace by force.

It wasn't even as far back as the 16th century that the Middle East was a center of civilization and refinement. Just before WWI, the Ottoman Empire pretty much owned the place and kept the populace happy and educated. It was comparable to the other European monarchies at the time like Austria, Germany or Russia. What they DID lack was a massive build up of militarization due to the European arms race. Don't forget that most of us were still pretty barbaric in the early 20th century- Western powers had no qualms about throwing machine guns and gunboats around prompted by religious reasoning. Of course, it was politics that motivated the start of WWI...really, that's MUCH more rational...

After WWII, the crop of leaders that took the reigns of Middle Eastern countries were pretty reasonable, UNTIL the West suddenly planted a brand new nation in the middle of one of their holiest cities. Go figure. Even after the Six Day War, only Israel really had to worry about Muslim aggression. And that was from whole countries, not terrorists.

The Iranian revolution was THE catalyst for today's terrorists. The revolutionaries fought against mechanized troops, tanks and planes, the best the CIA could supply the Iranian Sultan and Saddam with. We -taught- them that the proper tactics for defeating modern armies was not through force of arms, but social mobilzation.

The Islamic extremists are simply a more evolved version of what we see in Africa today- demogouges taking advantage of a poor populace and feeding them hatred. The main difference is that they've moved past killing each other, and moved on to killing foreigners. Generally this is how proper nations are made- you stabilize a region by emphasizing a common foreign enemy. In this case, it's 'the evil West"

It's our own ignorance that makes us think that Islam is the root of this problem. It's not. Islam is about as violent as Christianity. They all have their various elements against blasphemy and the like. It's simply the fact that religious leaders in the Islamic communities have MUCH more power. They're petty dictators that have full control over their homelands, and now are moving on to conquer new horizons. Saddams and Castros aren't dangerous because they're content with their little personality cults. These guys are MORE DANGEROUS because they have ambition- they not only have the devotion of their flock, now they're trying to move onto the next country over.

It all goes back to politics. Islam is a vehicle for dictators to make war. These dictators dress up in the robes of clerics and have religious upbringings, but in the end they're the same as Napolean or Saddam, more interested in their own personality cult. When other religious figures threaten them, they are no less ruthless. See the recent Iran elections for evidence.

See, the CIA and the US in general has made a really bad habit of targeting and assassinating leaders. That has been it's modus operandi throughout the Cold War. So these religious leaders have adopted personalities that -transcend- themselves and become part of a religion. Kill them, and they become martyrs. It's the perfect tactic to counter the CIA's headhunting tactics.

What we're really bad at is finding good leaders. This has been a problem since Vietnam. All too often the US are happy to prop up some 'other' dictator that tows their line, rather than someone who is actually a good leader and might clash with their interests.

The bad guys are succeeding because they've managed to deceive people into thinking that they represent some kind of nebulous, universal movement. That couldn't be further than the truth. What needs to be done is that western nations need to start calling out these dictators by name. Too few of us know who the President of Iran is, who the Supreme Cleric is. We don't know who the top men of the Taliban are, and whoever's in charge of Al Qaeda OTHER than Osama bin ladin is a really challenging question.

As we can see with Christian terrorists, it's easier to stop when you know your own. We can SEE who are the crazy gun militia men and the Timothy McVeighs. But when we start looking at a crowd and say "Those people can be potentially dangerous!" rather than saying "THAT man is dangerous" is when problems occur.

Throwing around generalities and pluralism is unproductive. You're never going to get millions of Muslims to do anything, any more than you can get millions of Christians to do anything. The bad leaders need to be thrown out, and good leaders need to be identified and supported.

more than 4 years ago

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Passes Senate Panel

tarlss Control (367 comments)

He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing

more than 4 years ago

Best Way To Land Entry-Level Job?

tarlss Re:Testing is a bad path (441 comments)

..Uhm, what happens if I can code well AND money is my primary motivator?

more than 4 years ago


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