top How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation
"Consensus is the business of politics.
Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world."
Wrong! Since the results are required to be independently reproduced and verified, science always requires more than one person to be right. One person, however, can be proven wrong.
top Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?
Great! Now if I have an accident I can claim I was improving your car by making it more aerodynamic.
top US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes
Municipalities should be allowed to build their own networks. I guess the ISPs are afraid of their competition.
The Internet does not deserve any special tax privileges. If my phone service can be taxed, so could my Internet service. Goods brought on the Internet should also be subject to the same sales taxes as goods bought locally, because, otherwise, Internet stores have an advantage.
That being said, I hate sales taxes because they are so regressive. I also despise that income is taxed differently. Wages should not be taxed more or less than other income. For example, the carried interest classification is unfair and horrible. Personally, I would like to get rid of sales taxes and most other taxes and fund most things with progressive income taxes.
top Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service
"Can you sue the financial industry for losses in the market." - Unfortunately, apparently not. While I appreciate this person's point, it misses the mark.
In this case I think it is more can you sue television stations for having ads for companies that caused the financial turmoil. such as AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc. Perhaps we could sue the FCC for allowing those ads. Generally, the answer to that question is no, and I do not think it is fair to sue Tor because somebody uses their product for bad purposes. If somebody purposely crashes a car into people, you cannot sue the automaker.
As to the main point, for too long, rich and powerful companies have suffered no consequences for their bad behavior, and often others suffer the ill effects. So it may not be possible to sue the gun makers when somebody uses a gun to kill somebody, yet often these companies support laws that make it easier to buy guns. We could, however, apply Milton Friedman's concept of "Neighborhood Effects" and make companies pay for their bad actions. In the case of gun makers, we could charge them every time somebody is killed with a firearm, say $20,000. Every time somebody is injured, we charge $10,000, and for crimes committed with firearms, we charge $5,000. This gives the companies an incentive to keep guns away from bad people.
For the companies that caused the financial crisis, we could limit the CEOs' pay to $100,000/year until we get back to employment at pre-2008 levels.
Obviously, there are many ways this principle could be applied, and we do need to find a way to make companies and individuals pay for their bad actions.
top Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You
What happens if the GPS is wrong and how do we make the car go to the right location? Just recently, I went to a store and the GPS routed me the wrong way. I also have had many case where the GPS misses the address by several hundred feet. I think before we go robot cars the routing needs to perfect, and that has not been achieved yet.
top Snowden Spoofed Top Officials' Identity To Mine NSA Secrets
Snowden used his sysadmin privileges to assume the user profiles of top NSA officials in order to gain access to the most sensitive files. His sysadmin privileges also enabled him to do something other NSA users can't — download classified files from NSAnet onto a thumb drive.
Perhaps my standard of brilliance is different, but having a sysadmin who knows how to take the identities of other users and does so does not seem particularly brilliant. Then, also using his privileges to download to a thumb drive does not seem particularly brilliant. I would expect any sysadmin to be able to figure this out.
If this is the standard for brilliance at the NSA, then it has a real problem.
top Amazon Forbids Crossing State Lines With Rented Textbooks
So if my daughter, who goes to college in Boston, rents books there, and then brings the books home during a vacation, she if violating the contract. That is ridiculous.
As for taxes, the online sellers should definitely have to pay sales taxes, but there is a more general issue. I hate sales taxes because they are regressive. If I had my way, the only taxes I would have would be income taxes. The tax rate would be base on amount of income regardless of source. This means that wages, dividends, capital gains, etc. would all be taxed at the same rate. I would eliminate FICA taxes as separate taxes, and allocate a percentage of all taxes paid to pay for Social Security and Medicare. The same strict rules would apply to corporate taxes, and all income, including offshore earnings would be taxed. Companies like GE would have to pay their fair share of income taxes. (GE has avoided paying any federal income taxes for several years.)
top Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault
If I screw up, such as being late with a payment, I get charged a fee. The insurance executives had almost four years to solve the problem, but have no incentive to fix it. They get more money with the status quo. Meanwhile, people go without medical care or go bankrupt from medical costs. It is time to penalize the executives, so limit their pay to a maximum of $400,000 until they solve the problem. Also, for any family that has to pay more than $12,700, each company involved should pay $500 fee for each incident, and three times the amount over $12,700. I bet they solve the problem really fast.
Actually, we (the United States) should just get rid of the insurance companies and implement a
single-payer system. Everybody would be covered. Nobody would die for lack of health care. Patients would have more freedom and could choose any doctor they want. Copayments and deductibles could be eliminated, and there would be no medical bankruptcies. The country would save $592 billion in 2014 if we went to a single-payer system.
top US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden
As a U.S. citizen, it really bothers me that other countries think they need to ask that the U.S. won't torture prisoners.
Since the death penalty is legal in the U.S., I can understand why other countries check on that. (Personally, I would like to see the death penalty abolished in the U.S.)
top Employers Switching From Payroll Checks To Prepaid Cards With Fees
I just read how many low-wage workers are being paid with prepaid cards that require fees. Often these workers do not have a choice in how they are paid.
As a constituent, I urge you to pass legislation that would ban fees on prepaid cards that are used to pay wages with the possible exception of overdraft fees.
top HP Discontinue OpenVMS
One of my favorite features of VMS was file versions. Each file had a version number. As many of you probably remember, each file had a version number. So you could have:
That feature combine with some logical commands, such as PURGE/KEEP=2, would keep the two most recent versions of the file. I wish there was such a command in OS X instead of having to delete all older versions manually.
This is a sad day, and I miss and will miss VMS.
top PayPal Reviewing Qualifying Age For Vulnerability Rewards
It seems obvious to me, but if Robert Kugler is too young to receive the award, then arrange to make the payment to a parent or guardian. If somebody else discovered the vulnerability first, then again, obviously, that should have been stated in the initial contact.
top Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years
Gee, It's nice to know that I am 30 years ahead of my time.
top The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses
'The online revolution offers intriguing opportunities for broadening access to education. But, so far, the evidence shows that poorly designed courses can seriously shortchange the most vulnerable students.'
Any poorly designed course shortchanges students, whether it is online or traditional. People learn in different ways and have different circumstances. For some people, online courses are heaven sent. For others they may be hell sent. And in both cases it can depend on the teacher. The same can be said for traditional courses. When it comes course design, it is apropos to blame the messenger.
about a year and a half ago
top Getting Better Transparency From Oil Refineries
By the way, what where Exxon and BP's reported profits last year?
And how much did Exxon and BP pay in federal income taxes and how much did they get in subsidies?
about a year and a half ago
top Researchers Create Vomiting Robot To Analyze Contagions
Vomiting is caused by viruses. I thought it was caused by eating one thin little mint.
about a year and a half ago
top The Downside of Warp Drives: Annihilating Whole Star Systems When You Arrive
Shoot, now I'll have to go someplace else for Thanksgiving.
top IEEE Standards For Voting Machines
These standards are unnecessary since electronic voting machines (EVMs) should be banned. There is no way to verify or audit the vote with EVMs.
Paper ballots that can be read by humans should be used instead. If there is a problem, the paper ballots can be recounted.
Once, when I took an online course, I printed out my test before I submitted my answers. I missed a question and checked my printout. I had answered the question correctly. So, did I accidentally change the answer, did the answer get flipped in transit or did the answer get flipped by the computer? This is why EVMs scare me. Like my online test, there is no way to verify the result.
top Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence?
A business executive was once asked what is the best word processing program and responded by saying a good secretary.
Nothing will replace a good teacher. A good teacher helps you learn faster with more depth. That is not to say that computer based education is pointless because this type of education can help especially in areas of low resources, covering areas that might not be covered, or for basic knowledge.
So computers may help and may even be good alternatives in some cases, but just as there is no replacement for a good secretary, there is no replacement for a good teacher.
top Ask Slashdot: Dedicating Code?
Consider what your grandmother liked.
If it is parks, then a plaque in the park is good. If she loved babies, then perhaps you could donate time to a crisis nursery or help them build a web application. If she loved animals, then perhaps do the same for an animal shelter. If she loved science, then you could help with a program that gets children interested in science.
With a little thought, I am sure you could come up with a great way to honor your grandmother's memory.
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