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Comment Re:Specialization (Score 1) 237

I agree with your general sentiment, but I would say that some amount of knowledge of levels just above and just below your own level is helpful or often necessary to do a job at a particular level.

Using my own example of a computer system:

  • App developers generally need to know something about how the app framework or OS works.
  • Framework developers generally need to know how apps interact with their framework/services, and how to interact with the OS.
  • OS developers have to be very aware of the API and ABI they expose to frameworks/apps, and often many details about the hardware (CPU, GPU, whatever random network card or other device they are working with).
  • Hardware designers generally need to know how low-level software will interact with them, as well as about the physical design features and limitations (how fast do the transistors and wires run, rules about area and congestion in the integrated circuits, etc.) that the hardware is being built upon.
  • Physical designers need to know about the general organization of the logic they are implementing (how many ports on this structure, what other blocks of logic does this piece of logic talk to), as well as some about the transistors, wires, capacitance, EM noise, etc. that make up the design.
  • Process engineers need to know how physical designers are using their transistors and wires, as well as a bunch of stuff about basic physics, chemistry, etc.

So yes, specialization, but some cross-discipline knowledge too.

Comment Re:Pinocchio as example of Disney's hypocrisy (Score 1) 207

You picked Pinocchio on purpose because it's probably the closest one you can find. Many other Disney movies are based on material whose copyrights either never existed, or have definitely expired even under current law. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, Hercules, Rapunzel, Frozen - all either multi-generational folklore with no actual copyright on the characters or story, or fairy tales published in the 18th and 19th centuries whose copyrights have long since expired.

I'm not disagreeing with your point that their copyright lobbying is hypocritical, but it's pretty much a separate point from the discussion about how much Disney "steals" when they make a derivative work. If it were so easy to take 19th century folk tales and turn them into billion dollar franchises (I mean, you're starting from an existing, known character and story, right? According to Slashdot, that's pretty much the whole thing), I would expect Slashdot to be teeming with billionaire producers and directors fresh off their latest hit.

Comment Re:This is nothing new (Score 1) 207

This is what Disney has been doing all along... from Snow White to The LIttle Mermaid, pretty much everything Disney has ever had success with has been bought, borrowed or stolen. The last original character that Disney created was Mickey Mouse.

I'm really, really sick of hearing this ridiculous argument about Disney films. Did Disney steal all those Little Mermaid songs from the original fairy tale from 150 years ago? Or the animations? Or the voice actors?

No, none of that existed before Disney. The only thing that existed was the short story by Hans Christian Anderson, published in 1837. Guess what? Many films are made based on previously-published stores. 150 years later, Disney comes along and turns it into an animated musical feature film.

If you think the value in The Little Mermaid film was completely from the Hans Christian Anderson short story, by all means, set up shop as a traveling bard retelling HCA fairy tales and see if you can get people to give as much money as they've given Disney for Little Mermaid stuff. If you're right, you can laugh in my face all the way to the bank. But I wouldn't quit my day job if I were you.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 197

That's because with weeklong rentals, the lessor has to go through the trouble of finding a new tenant every week instead of being guaranteed the rent for the year.

And probably more importantly, with shorter-term commitments, the lessor takes on the risk that no one will rent the place the next week and there will be no rental income. So the shorter-term commitments price this risk in via higher rent per day for a shorter commitment.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 197

It's not just rent control. Short-term rentals, such as weekends and week-long rentals that Airbnb deals in, necessarily command a higher price than yearlong or longer commitments. That's because with weeklong rentals, the lessor has to go through the trouble of finding a new tenant every week instead of being guaranteed the rent for the year.

Of course, you can make the argument that the yearlong lessee who then rents his unit to a different occupant every week is putting in the extra effort every week to find a new tenant to realize those profits, and the landlord himself could do the same but chooses not to (he chooses to get the guaranteed yearlong rent instead). But, as was stated above, it's not the lessee's property to decide how it should be rented, so I don't know that this argument holds up.

Comment Re:Caveot Emptor (Score 2) 99

The reason that people who lost money in Mt Gox can't get their money back isn't because it was in Bitcoin. ... The reason people won't get their money back from Mt Gox is because Mt Gox isn't an FDIC insured bank.

Your point is sound (deposit insurance is different from who or what issues a currency), but in practice that distinction doesn't help anyone looking to replace their wealth storage in dollars with something else. The reason Mt Gox isn't an FDIC insured bank is because their deposits are in bitcoin, and FDIC doesn't insure anything that isn't in dollars.

I seriously doubt the US government will start insuring bitcoin deposits because 1) it doesn't control the currency, and 2) because it wants to encourage people to use dollars, not bitcoin. Lack of FDIC insurance on bitcoin is a (major) downside to using bitcoin as a wealth storage replacement.

Note that I'm talking about wealth storage, not short-term transactions. Transactions can be done in whatever currency the two parties agree upon (dollars, bitcoin, Ferraris, head of cattle, whatever). That's been possible since the dawn of trading between two parties and bitcoin is perhaps useful there.

Comment Re:Caveot Emptor (Score 2) 99

The difference is that deposits in a US bank are insured by the federal government up to some amount. (I'm not sure how it works in other countries but I would be surprised if they didn't have similar arrangements.) Bitcoins are not insured by a government. Yes, the government is going after the individual responsible for committing the theft, but there's no guarantee that those people will get their money back - unlike with a government-issued, government-insured currency.

Comment Re:Wow! (Score 4, Interesting) 274

which means that the managers' efforts increased the size of the endowment by $1.7B.

No one is disputing that the size of the endowment increased by $1.7B. Was it really due to the managers' efforts, or could the fund have increased by $1.7B if invested in a lower cost investment portfolio that *doesn't* take 20% of that growth? Over the last couple years, the market has been strong, and many investments have done well. I could support paying the managers 20% of whatever growth they generate above and beyond some normative benchmark, like the S&P 500. That would be a measure of the managers true effect. Oh, and while we're at it, why don't we say that if the fund ends up doing worse than the S&P 500 due to the managers efforts, claw back some of that 2% fee too.

Comment Re:The reason is more simple (Score 1) 688

A two-car household is a common scenario, at least in the US (basically a two-adult household where most things are shared, like two married people for example), so the expense of having a second car is not an additional expense since both adults want/need a car anyway. In the two-car household, at least one of the cars is a commuter car. The other car may be a commuter car or may be a "family car" like a minivan/SUV. There's basically no reason why the commuter car can't be electric.

The other common situation that you're talking about is a one-car situation comprised of a single unmarried/unattached person not sharing cars with anyone else. In this case, I agree, there are a good number of reasons why you may not want your only car to be an electric.

Comment Re:Limited Resources Used Badly (Score 1) 678

There's nothing wrong with SOME diversion and trade of a natural resource. But there is something VERY wrong with doing it when you have a limited resource like fresh water that is being used badly.

Who determines what is a bad use and what is a good use? You? I claim that burning gasoline in your car is a bad use of the resources of the Middle East/Texas/Venezuela/Dakotas.

comparative advantage [snip]

You're right, it's not comparative advantage, it's absolute advantage, which is even stronger. The Great Lakes has an absolute advantage in water production, but the southwest has a huge absolute advantage in solar power production.

Comment Re:Interstate Water Sharing system (Score 3, Insightful) 678

How about, instead of massive engineering projects, we just don't build cities where there aren't enough natural resources to sustain them?

So then, we should avoid building cities in the Great Lakes region, where it gets really cold in winter and people have to use natural gas that was mined in Texas and the Dakotas?

There's this thing called comparitive advantage. The southwest has tons of potential for producing solar energy, let's not shut down development there yet.

Comment Re:Price Controls? (Score 1) 279

why do you have a "yard"?

I'm not the OP, but I'll tell you why I have a yard: I like the privacy and convenience it enables for me and my family for doing stuff outside. Public parks are great but cover different use cases. It's the same question and answer as why anyone lives in a single-family residence instead of a multi-family apartment/condo.

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