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Comment Re:I'm fine with it.. (Score 5, Insightful) 369

"when you say "freedom of speech" you mean the freedom to be a white supremacist neo-nazi hate monger."

Definitely! Or maybe freedom to be advocating a homosexual lifestyle, or freedom to be a pornography spreading filth monger, or freedom to instruct people about making bombs or cooking meth.
Yes, in the USA there is a First Amendment, but that only provides a little protection against government censorship. It does nothing to restrain the militant, hate-filled SJWs from using every tactic imaginable, including brute force, to stifle speech that they don't like.
Creating a forum for unpopular opinions and controversial material is an entirely noble enterprise

Comment Illegal, Un-Constitutional and MSM fail (Score 4, Insightful) 50

From the article:

"The collection in question was specifically authorized by a warrant issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, said the two government sources"

Notice how Reuters just regurgitates the info they get from "anonymous government sources"? They don't even bother to cite the law, nor do they question it on Constitutional grounds. Anonymous sources say that the FISA court said it was OK, therefore it's OK? Thanks for the investigative journalism.

From The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

"... no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized ..."

IANAL, but it would be impossible for the government to demonstrate "probable cause" to search the e-mail messages of every single Yahoo! user. The word "particularly" is also very relevant here as it contrasts to "general". It's illegal to issue a "general" warrant. The verbiage is very deliberate in meaning that the "particular" person or premises must be named in the warrant. "All Yahoo! e-mail users" or "All e-mail on Yahoo! servers" is not a "particular" description.

I'm not optimistic, but *maybe* there's a lawsuit here that will force a court ruling on this crap. If all Yahoo! e-mail users were affected, the government can't argue(as it has done successfully in the past) that the plaintiffs lack legal standing to sue.

Comment Re:The Internet (Score 1) 181

Of course the Swedish authorities could still claim that he needed to appear in Sweden to face charges, but there's no reason he couldn't have been questioned in Britain anytime in the last 4 years.

As of now, Assange is subject to arrest in Britain or any European country, but only because of treaty obligations related to the extradition request from Sweden. If that goes away, so does the EU-wide arrest warrant. What crime did he commit in Britain? Something like "resisting arrest" because he ducked British authorities and fled into the embassy?

Comment Re:How utterly predictable from Samsung. (Score 1) 446

Consumers are king, but you can't please everyone. Check out the BuzzFeed article where they interviewed the VP of engineering and another VP at Apple about the decision.

According to them: "among the features people most care about in a high-end smartphone ... is the camera."

Removal of the headphone jack apparently let them add some extra image stabilization and camera features along with a 14% larger battery. They apparently believe that they ARE catering to the consumers. Revenue from dongles and special Apple headphones will probably offset losses from people who won't buy the phone because of the missing headphone jack.

The market will decide.

Comment Let's hear their explanation. (Score 1) 446

I'm from the "I'm not buying one of these phones without the headphone jack" camp, but after reading an interview with some Apple engineers, I understood why they made their decision. Interesting read. They had determined that the overwhelming use of the i-Phone involved people taking selfies and other photos. Removing the headphone jack freed up space for some image stabilization hardware and other camera-related functions and allowed for a slight increase in battery size. Sounds like they know their customers and apparently, people like me, who use that headphone jack almost every day, are in the minority.
Hopefully Samsung has good design reasons and isn't just following Apple.

Comment Re:Single payer system would avoid this problem (Score 4, Informative) 327

The U.S. federal government makes it illegal to import, or even RE-import prescription drugs. That's right. Thanks to government, you can't even buy the same exact product in the manufacturer's original packaging after it has been exported.

Then, you have Medicare and Medicaid which dictate prices for products and services. The medical service providers then jack up prices on everyone else to offset the below-market prices from the government programs. That's why people go bankrupt due to medical bills. The uninsured have no negotiating power, and get charged 10x, 50x or more for the same exact services. If everyone paid the Medicare/Medicaid prices, providers would go bankrupt. If Medicare/Medicaid paid fair market prices, those programs would go bankrupt.
The USA federal government has been involved in healthcare for over 50 years. Their intervention has been an absolute disaster. Skyrocketing prices, millions unable to afford even basic services, substandard quality of outcomes.

And these are the people you want to put in charge of the entire USA healthcare system? Fuck "socialized medicine" and fuck the U.S. federal government. They're the problem, not the solution.

Comment Re:So many problems... (Score 3, Insightful) 327

As sad as it seems, more than 100 million people in the USA have a BIG problem with a $500 investment:

  Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency.

If they can't scrape up $400 for an emergency, they probably can't afford a $500 investment for an epi-pen they might not need. A visit to the ER not only introduces a time delay which puts the person's health at greater risk, and it might also mean bankruptcy.

The risk associated with use of a $30 device is probably acceptable to people who would otherwise risk death or bankruptcy. Having options is a good thing, even if they come with risk.

Comment Re:snowden is Russia's prisoner (Score 1) 278

AFAIK, neither Russia nor China are Constitutional republics. They don't have a "Bill of Rights" which prohibits the government from acting against The People in these ways.

In the USA there are clearly stated limits on government power. The government cannot rightfully claim "state secrets" as a cover for lying to the public and engaging in blatant criminal activity. That's why Snowden's actions are both noble and patriotic.

If a whistleblower revealed that the Russian and Chinese government are engaged in mass surveillance against their citizens, it's a leak, but I doubt that it's considered criminal for openly authoritarian governments to do this. That's what makes the Snowden revelations important. The U.S. federal government is operating in exactly the same manner as oppressive regimes like the former East Germany.

Comment Re:Were you living on your own in 2001? (Score 1) 278

WTF are you talking about?

Yes, courts threw out the lawsuits by arguing that the plaintiffs did not have legal standing to sue because they could not prove that they were individually targeted for warrantless spying. I'm sure Snowden is aware of that given that the ACLU brought the lawsuits and the ACLU is representing him.
          Where would we get the evidence to prove legal standing? Oh, "that's classified" says the government, which puts We, The People in a no-win situation.
          Snowden provided the evidence. It's not his fault that the government refuses to allow the evidence to be introduced. Easy to be a defeatist when the government courts steadfastly refuse to make a ruling on the Constitutionality of the programs.
          The worst poison pill in The Constitution is that government gets to make rulings on the scope and extent of government power.

Comment Re:Wonder what the RNC is doing about now? (Score 1) 333

"Conservatives often seem to value (what they see as) 'common sense' over scientific analysis"

Like "common sense" anti-gun legislation that leftists advocate ... even when "analysis" done by the FBI and CDC show that firearms-related homicides are down by 50% since the 1993 peak and non-fatal injuries associated with firearms-related crime are down by nearly 70% over the same time period?

From what I've seen, leftists believe in government just as fervently as monotheists believe in their old books and deities.

Comment Re:Death penalty (Score 1) 527

So you're saying that scientists and politicians MUST accept those bribes? They have absolutely no free will in the matter? Bollocks. You can't buy something that isn't "for sale" to begin with.

Corporations are required by law to maximize profits and act in the best interests of the shareholders. Government is supposed to be serving the people.

Where's the problem? Is it the corporations that are doing exactly what we should expect them to be doing or the government which betrays the people for its own benefit?

Comment Re:This the direct result of "No New Taxes" (Score 1) 618

Bullshit. "More money" has been thrown at all levels of public education with increasingly dismal results.

Where are these rising "costs" for education? I see rising "prices" but that's a different matter. The colleges and universities are inflating prices in direct proportion with the students' ability to pay(by taking on huge amounts of debt).

What do you need for education?
1. A subject matter expert
2. Classroom and office space
3. Desks and chairs
4. Textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils
5. IT infrastructure.
6. Lab space and equipment for some subjects.

Are the professors' salaries skyrocketing? Has it become that much more expensive to build and furnish classrooms, offices and labs? Textbooks, pens and pencils aren't included with tuition, so that's not a cost driver. IT hardware has been getting cheaper and U.S.-based IT staff aren't seeing major salary increases.

The sharp spike in "prices" is not being driven by increases in "costs" which are being passed on to the students. Colleges and Universities, just like any business, will charge the highest possible prices they can without losing customers. As long as they can keep a full contingent of students, they will keep pushing up prices.

We need government, especially federal government OUT of higher education! Roughly 70% of college students have student loans. If we get the government out of the lending business, will we see a 70% decrease in the # of college students and massive layoffs of faculty and staff? Hell no. Colleges would need to cut prices dramatically to attract students, something that the schools could very easily afford to do. They certainly don't need more grants and subsidies.

Comment Re:Ahh, science (Score 1) 709

Predicting the future is not "science", even though the people making the predictions might have scientific credentials.

The models that the so-called "climate scientists" create are based on curve fitting techniques which attempt to correlate observed data with a hypothesized cause/effect relationship with other observed data.

            "Global Warming" = aX +bY +cZ ...

The scientists use the historical data to find the values of the coefficients a,b,c and then predict the magnitude that a change in X,Y,Z will have on "Global Warming". These models have led to all sorts of predictions that have been proven false. The scientists are constantly adjusting their models as new observations are accumulated. They also massage the historical data to fit the models in order to suggest that the model would have had predictive value in the past "If we massage the data accumulated before year 2000 and apply our model, it correctly predicts climate observations made between 2001 and 2015" etc.

These are the exact same mathematical techniques that economists use to make predictions about how something like GDP would be affected by tax policy, government spending, infrastructure spending, oil prices, etc. etc. Very few people would suggest that economists are doing "science".

Comment Not entirely a user problem. (Score 1) 349

A 20% error rate on 35,000 files isn't entirely a user problem. Yes, the user ultimately has complete control and the issue could have been corrected if the user had carefully verified the data. In that sense, it's a user problem. However, if the tool is so counter-intuitive that roughly 20% of a large sample people make the same mistake, it's Excel's problem too.

I wonder if an aluminum extension ladder analogy is a first on /. ?

Consider an aluminum extension ladder... :-)

Suppose the locking mechanism on the ladder worked properly when the user carefully verified that it was engaged. The user has complete control. If the mechanism was so counter-intuitive that 20% of the users ended up making the same error and falling off, it wouldn't be brushed off as a problem with stupid or careless users. There's no question whatsoever that the manufacturer would be held partially responsible. Hell, if they sold 35,000 ladders and found out that there had been 100 accidents because of confusion about the lock, they'd yank the product off the market immediately and probably face lawsuits.

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