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Senate Bill Would Ban Most Bulk Surveillance

towermac Re:Good progress, still needs more work (176 comments)

What does two hops mean, exactly?

To me, it means they can monitor everyone the suspect contacts. Monitoring them, means listing who they talked to; that list of people, being the second hop. You can't monitor them, at least not on this warrant.

Now, that's exactly what I expect them to do, if they are investigating a possible terrorist. You run that second hop list of names, and see if you hit on anybody else of interest. Maybe you already have a warrant on them. Maybe there's other probable cause. Maybe it was Bin-Laden who was the second hop, and you just fuckin' found him. Good job.

That's what the FBI has done our whole lives. Don't take away their ability to do basic police work.

Like you, I suspect a trick. Let's hope they don't pull the half-million suspects thing. But maybe you're smarter than me, so look closely at it, and tell me why I should be against it if I should be.

3 days ago

Senate Bill Would Ban Most Bulk Surveillance

towermac Re:For domestic use only (176 comments)

Yeah, that's the worst damage; we're giving up the rule of law. The alternative is to live under the rule of men. Democracy, Republic, Dictatorship; no difference in them without the rule of law.

And equality under the law. You must apply the law equally, to everyone. That way, if the law sucks, the people won't stand for it, and they'll get the law changed, one way or another.

3 days ago

The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

towermac Re:Get used to this... (250 comments)

"If corporations do not pay taxes then every rich shit head will shift all their income into a corporation and not pay any tax (their PR=B$ plan)."

It shouldn't make any difference to us where the rich 'shift' their money; income is income. Also, you should be free to do what you want with your stuff. Obviously, if legislation was passed abolishing the corporate income tax, then existing rules on personal income tax would be amended at the same time to account for it. I never said we should just cut tax receipts.

As for the rest of your authoritarian oppressive ideas, bullying citizens and other countries and all that (don't we do enough of that already?); uh, I'm against that. :)

3 days ago

The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

towermac Re:Get used to this... (250 comments)

Yes, they can do that, although there are only so many homes to be had in the Caymans. So now their billion dollars is down to $995M...

All banks love big deposits, nothing evil there, and all Cayman banks have to do to be America's tax dodge is to simply exist. But the truly rich do more with their money than just buy yachts, or they would like to, if they were not in this holding pattern, waiting for a change in administrations.

Shut down the Caymans and those banks will pop up somewhere else, pretty much like these have moved from Switzerland. It seems to me we have 2 choices; take over the planet and then we can impose our 35% - 40% tax rates everywhere (but I think the rich will still find a way...), or; lower them to just under the cost of hiding the money in the first place. There is a point where it would be easier (read, cheaper), to just take the income and pay the tax, rather than open new accounts, shell corporations, and end up doing without your money (okay, the majority of it). Yachts and winter homes are a drop in the bucket.

Socialist Europe has far lower corporate tax rates than us. Is that not a clue?

3 days ago

The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

towermac Re:Get used to this... (250 comments)

Assuming you're against that notion, let's carry it to some logical conclusions, shall we?

One thing that corporations cannot do is vote. And yet they are taxed heavily, at the Federal level. Is that not taxation without representation? Yes, I know; they get all the representation they are due, and then some, as per TFA. I'm against that; are you? Every time you tax them more, you empower them more in this way.

Now, the politician *MUST* take the corporation's "views" into account when she is voting on legislation. It would be irresponsible of her not to, given the large portion of the taxpayer base that it comprises. She doesn't have to be on the take, or dishonest in any way, for this dynamic to exist. Why put her in this position?

Also, what is income? I'll tell you. ;) Income is income when somebody gets the money. If you tax the money hitting the corporation, before carbon-based real people can even get their hands on it, then you just made the corporation into somebody, didn't you?

And it's not just about the 35% income tax either. Regulations are taxes (often un-payable at any price by smaller businesses, but I digress..). The more you regulate them, the more you recognize them. I know you recoil in horror at the thought of not regulation big corporations. But go with it a moment; whatever labor laws we need (and we need them, I'm no anarchist), should be the same for businesses of 2, or 49, or 17,000 employees.

We've done away with equality under the law, and who do you think that's going to favor? Unless you live in some communist utopia, imbalances in the law are always going to favor the rich and powerful; always have. Every time new regulations come online, businesses with less than 50 employees are exempted. It's such a trick, I wish we'd quit falling for it.

You can still get the tax money. Rich people own those corporations. Or maybe a whole lot of middle class; doesn't matter. *That's* income: Tax the crap out of it then if you want. You won't have to though, because there's really no hiding it then. Well, I mean, if the person took it as income; as in, *Got* the money. You still do accounting; you know what the corporation made; it's not a radical thought to tax the owner for his percentage of the corporate profit. If they didn't take it, they must be hiding it in the Caymans? That's exactly what they are doing.

But they don't get to have it, and spend it; not while hiding it in the Caymans. Think about that for a moment: The greediest people in society would rather do without their own money than pay the high tax on it. What better gauge of a proper tax rate, than rich people's greed for their own money? (remember, it's just a gauge, not an on-off switch).

The tax is too high. Lower the tax. Do away with corporate taxes. Simplify business regulations and taxes, then apply them to everyone. Equality under the law is a prerequisite for the working man to have a chance in a society. The influence of big corporations in government would then largely evaporate. (Nothing is ever perfect and complete, but we should still try to hit a sweet spot.)

4 days ago

Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

towermac Re:Duh (176 comments)

Dude, the election is long over, and your guy won.

"She basically allowed torture"

Huh. I remember Bush being in charge during that time.

"is responsible for Guantanamo"

I don't even know what to do with that.


I guess she held the garden hose eh?

"She was part of the administration that developed the PATRIOT Act."

the Act passed the House 357 to 66; passed the Senate by 98 to 1. But somehow her fault..

People hate on her because she's a black female Democrat that switched parties, which is not allowed. That racist crap really pisses me off. The fact is; she's a badass, and the only thing she did wrong was to come of age at the same time Bush got elected.

about a week ago

Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

towermac Lame (701 comments)

Lamest poll ever...

about two weeks ago

Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

towermac Re:To me it's pretty clear. (503 comments)

That's not my expectation. I would think that you and I could figure out how to power the thing up in less than an hour; likely a few minutes. It won't be too complicated to turn on; remember you're supposed to be able to operate it under the duress of war..

I'm not really disagreeing with you; that in no way qualifies us to operate the thing, and in fact makes it far more dangerous. For example, we would want to turn the default auto-target off, and set a self-destruct ceiling and range before firing. How long would it take to figure that out without somebody showing us?

If my only experience was shoulder missiles, I might forget this big one has a ceiling of 35,000 feet, and that missing with it is much worse than not firing at all. I bet they cover all that pretty thoroughly in Army training.

about two weeks ago

'Hidden From Google' Remembers the Sites Google Is Forced To Forget

towermac Re:It was bound to happen (163 comments)

"With one exception: someone whose criminal record has been expunged."

What about somebody whose done his time? Not falsely accused; did the crime, and the time. Several years in prison let's say.

What more does he owe us? I'd kind of like to see him free and clear. But his criminal record is stuck to him... forever I guess. I'm just asking.

What about the story about a guy that got his criminal record expunged? What about the archived footage from WHAM13 Live or whatever of the cops showing up that day long ago when he was arrested? Can that be expunged too? and the comments? and blogs or whatever the kids are using nowadays...

Maybe things used to be expungable, but it's going to be pretty hard to do that going forward. In fact, that might have happened already.

I think maybe we thought we were in the Information Age, and we weren't really yet, and this is a peek into what that really means.

about three weeks ago

Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

towermac Re:What's the point? (129 comments)

Very interesting.

The eye tracker thing is interesting; only update what I'm looking at. Unless there are idle cycles, then go ahead and update the rest of it.

I was thinking of a fractal style display environment, where oop and inheritance are taken to ridiculous levels. Each item to be updated is the child of a child of some child region possibly, although I was thinking more of in game objects instead of predefined areas. Like all the mice or grass waving or whatever.

Assuming we are stuck with a single master thread in games for the time being, you're going to run out of time long before you updated just the changes in a cycle, even if the changes were few. So this fractal structured graphics thing updates the highest parents first, then drops a level and runs their child commands, which might be the basic outlines of leaves or other terrain, with the details, broken into how ever many levels of detail as the programmer saw fit, encoded within. The GPU may, or may not, get to those children in time, if it does not; you would see blurry graphics, at least for that frame.

On the next update, the GPU gets it's new changes, and still has a list from the prior cycle that didn't get drawn. Some of those get drawn on this new cycle, and eventually, the GPU catches up. If it doesn't catch up, then that is the best you will be able to run this game with the graphics card you have. Instead of game programmers having predefined fall back modes, (like a poor-good graphics slider), they throw everything they want at the GPU, and it will take care of rendering what it can. And unless your GPU is just really bad, then you will be able to see something besides big color splotches, and hopefully play the game with degraded quality.

But you never again miss a frame, and if you stop and stare, the detail will fill itself in on your glorious VR holographic screen with no additional help from the programmers. Then, you'll drop a grand or more on a video card..

about three weeks ago

Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

towermac Re:Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (78 comments)

"NASA needs a passion project on which they can fire on all cylinders and do something big."

That nails it. But,

"...NASA should target Mars ..."

That's the problem, and why you can't get people stirred up over it; there's no good reason to go to Mars. There was a good reason to go to the Moon at the time. Now, not so much; which is why we don't go to the Moon anymore either. And that's okay, because it's really expensive to go.

The asteroid thing is somewhat of a better reason, at least because whatever we find we can bring back in bulk, as opposed to the footlocker's worth of anything we found on the surface of Mars. Snagging an asteroid is a pretty big project, but the passion part is not satisfied; I suspect the asteroid will be mostly rock and dust, pretty much the same thing that is waiting for us on the surface of Mars. Hard to get excited over finding rocks and dust.

"Something big" means there needs to be a big payoff. Incidental little payoffs like velcro and teflon don't really count; you get those with any big applied science project. There's a catch though; it has to be something that hasn't been done before, or you're not going to get new science out of it. The new science in those projects is in the snagging, or in the keeping people alive in space for 2ish years (I forget how long). Both of those are kinda, .. not worth billions.

What's a *Big*, *New* project, with a really big payoff? To me, it's the elephant in the room....

The space elevator.

That's the next big thing. We're just about as close to that now, as walking men around on the Moon was in the early 60s. Theoretically, we can do it; we have the carbon nanotube material of sufficient strength. We just can't spin/extrude it into a ribbon cable. That's your science to focus on. There's your project.

You may say we are researching that now, but I'm saying: Actually get started. Shoot a weightless R&D laboratory into equatorial GEO 1000 miles west of Peru. Equip it with a carbon nanotube extruder that... doesn't actually work yet. But it will, if a politician with big brass ones tells us all that it will. He'll have to lie to us, and tell us that in a weightless, airless environment; it will be possible to manufacture the ribbon cable. That it's just a matter of applied science and time. All politicians lie; good politicians just tell good lies.

In the meantime, you'll get all (okay most) of the science you would have gotten out of a Mars trip. Extended stays outside the radiation belts, a lot of spacewalking, the whole thing is a big laboratory... It's a killer space station even if they completely fail their primary mission. Getting that spot is worth something also. In GEO, I think it stays put a while, and doesn't have to maintained as much as LEO. Also, the asteroid capture mission could be altered into a nice complement to this mission. What's not to love?

about three weeks ago

Rob Pardo Says Farewell To Blizzard

towermac Not sure whether to love him or hate him (93 comments)

I miss the game so much. I was just watching some of my last avis the other day - my glorious feral bear in Tol Barad. Charge, mangle, swipe - then charge away so they hit air. I loved it when healers and casters stand out of range - always gave me an out when things got hot (bears are quite flammable). Always on the move, running figure 8s thru my victim. 'Hey, bears aren't supposed to do this kind of damage!' Heh.

The feral bear was so badass. I was the first to come out of the 'closet' and tank HoR out in the middle of the room. Only the bear could do that. A real epic move, hard to pull off, was to resurrect my healer while tanking. If you ever bear tanked in Wrath, then you know what I'm talking about.

I started PVPing the bear back in Wintergrasp, back when bears were "not viable in PVP", being tanks and all. I died a lot, for a long time. PVP was hard enough, but to do it with an underpowered class... I was always the only bear (save for dying desperate restos trying to get away - always a mistake imo). It was really really hard, both to learn, and after that, just to play well and not spaz out. Epic battles... It would sometimes take a dozen men to bring me down.

And then to get into rated BGs. That was a hell of a day, when I finally earned the best weapon in game (not counting legendary) that seemed so impossible when the season started. For a few minutes once, we had the best 10 man BG team on the server. The most fun I've ever had while looking at a screen. By far. Realize I'm a 47 year old dude at the time, and had to completely give up TV to do this.

If you've got somebody willing to do that, *and* pay you $15 a month for it; my advice is to not eff that up. I understood that Wrath of the Lich King was going to be hard to follow. They really got the story together for that, and while story has little to do with PVP, Warcraft overall needs the backstory.

So I guess knowing they were going to fuck it up, they actually made that the core of the next expansion. They literally broke the world, and made it part of the story. So they took away feral, my best time, and they took away Ashenvale, my other favorite thing - lost in a magical fairyland as a low level noob... Then they followed that with pandas...

Everything I liked about the game, they changed. It's almost like I wish I had never played. Because now I know what I'm missing.

about three weeks ago

Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

towermac Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (385 comments)

"Nuclear reactors are actually a BAD choice for funding currently due to the bureaucratic gridlock around adopting new (safer) reactor designs, which *do* exist. "

The bureaucratic gridlock part is what we are against.

I don't like the mindset: 'Oh well, they beat us. Can't be done now.'

Concrete and steel don't cost that much...

about a month ago

Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

towermac Nice (276 comments)

And btw, how is it that even having a "no fly list" is legal?

What does that mean, exactly? Are you a criminal or not? If they know that someone wants to blow up or hijack a plane, then go arrest the fuck out of them right now.
Or leave them the hell alone. We are talking about US citizens, right?

I understand that Bin-Laden should have probably been on some "no fly list". Known foreign criminals even. Along with the bipolar manic depressive with a history of making trouble on planes. That's about all that comes to mind.

I also understand putting them on the list temporarily, until that due diligence can be done. But that means that the "appeal", should be automatic, and the end result is that you get cleared, or busted. (or crazy as mentioned above, which is still temporary, in the event that the person can prove treatment and remission)

about a month ago

The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

towermac Last time I voted... (268 comments)

EPA wasn't on the ballot.

If they were though, I might not have voted for them, because they are such hypocrites. Get caught by them with so much as a dirty old eagle feather found in a ditch, and see what happens to you. Yet windmills in CA are up to 3000 Golden Eagles killed, and like 1 point something million birds total. Free pass. Doesn't matter if I love windmills or not; the birds are worth protecting with felonies and giant fines for regular citizens, or they are not. I'm a big fan of equality under the law.

My power bill is high as fuck now. So are other peoples'. I can't think of a reason why the EPA would care about that though.

Where is my Congress?

about a month and a half ago

SpaceX Falcon 9R Vertical Take-Off and Landing Test Flight

towermac Re:Thank you Elon (105 comments)

I'm right there with you.

I believe that a landable full sized rocket is somewhat of a big deal. I know we've been hearing about it for a while, but seeing is believing.

I needed some good news today.

about a month and a half ago

NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

towermac I believe them (245 comments)

It's the biggest system there is. There's nothing to 'back it up to', for various reasons. The letter of the (original) order can't be complied with, without shutting it off, and saving the current contents for the upcoming hearing (or trial). In the meantime, we have nothing as far as NSA protection goes. I get that.

That doesn't mean the the spirit of the order can't be complied with. Snapshots of sections, randomly chosen database blocks from among representative groups, a sampling of the most called routines; something. If it's a freaking computer, then there is some way that evidence can be gotten without bringing the system down, assuming cooperation on the part of the admins. I hope they are not getting off the hook.

about 2 months ago

EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games

towermac Re:translation (329 comments)

You've nailed it. This is simply to make people buy the newer games.

They keep support alive only long enough so as to not attract the attention of the FTC.

about 3 months ago

Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change

towermac Re:Wyoming is rejecting politics, not science (661 comments)

"This bullshit again?"

So you're saying it's not just me then..

" What do you call the adaptation of climate models over time to better fit recorded data again?"

After some thought, your description is okay; I would drop the 'again', and just say, 'the adaptation of climate models over time to better fit recorded data'. The 'again' is redundant; the adaptation of a climate model in ongoing development to newly recorded data is an ongoing process. 'The Method', it ain't.

Btw, I honestly thought that I thought of this myself. If we are the sort of people that think for ourselves, then you can also do better, and tell me how my argument sucks, based on logic, rather than on who you thought may have first said it.

I understand that we are unable to do a real experiment and follow the scientific method on this one; we got the one planet, and there's no more to be had at the bunsen burner supply house. That's not my fault; the method is still the method.

We could do it just for the sake of it, and actually make people better off, and that would mean undercutting oil and coal. You won't have that, will you?

about 3 months ago

Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change

towermac Wyoming is rejecting politics, not science (661 comments)

I know you advocates want to say it isn't so.It may not even be your fault; possibly the Koch brothers are fully responsible for politicizing climate change.

The fact is, you got politics in your science. Possibly to fill in the fact that you haven't fully followed the scientific method on this one. The testing part is missing; the repeatable testability by independent parties of an hypothesis. So they're technically not wrong, it's not settled science. Yes btw, I do see the political self-interest. Let's look at that.

The politics you're offering them is tax increases and higher prices for nothing in return. If you want to say Wyoming's weather will get better, and that's the payoff, well; if you could prove that, then you'd have something. You got nothing. You got freaking windmills. And death ray solar compounds. I'm not so surprised it's a hard sell.

Easier to sell, would be something better than they have now. Dirt cheap electricity is about the only thing that will do it. This is where I would mention the 'n' word, but the most ardent climate change advocates are it's fiercest opponents. That right there, is nothing but politics.

about 3 months ago


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