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Comment: Information Wants to Be Free (Score 2) 62

by Akratist (#49171147) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement
Even if people cannot change the circumstances of their existence, they are able to change their thoughts and opinions and recognize that what they're being told to think doesn't match up with reality. People who lived behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War realized that they were being fed a line of BS and were eager to read western literature and listen to western music when they could find it, even if they weren't going to get Soviet tanks to leave by force.

Comment: Hum (Score 5, Interesting) 411

by Akratist (#49148019) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83
I come to Slashdot for interesting news, not sad news. That said, I watched rerun after rerun of TOS growing up, and the vision expressed in Star Trek permanently impressed on me, with Leonard Nimoy excellent portrayal of Spock and the importance of logic and careful analysis playing a strong role in my career choice. I am confident in saying that I am hardly alone in that, but I'm also confident in saying that I think Mr. Nimoy was well aware of how he had shaped generations of young minds through the medium of acting. Thank you for what you did for all of us.

Comment: Re:Why is this so hard to understand? (Score 1) 193

by Akratist (#49136273) Attached to: Uber Offers Free Rides To Koreans, Hopes They Won't Report Illegal Drivers
You mistake equilibrium for returning to the model that currently exists. Such sloppy thinking invalidates the rest of your post, along with equating doctors to a fixed number of taxis in a geographic location. Are the number of doctors limited in a city? I'm not aware of a quota system in place, other than the number of available jobs. Likewise, with lawyers, for example. Anyone can go pass the bar and hang their shingle out. They may get one case a year, and decide that slinging coffee is a better way to go, but we still have plenty of lawyers who manage to run a successful business. As for liability, if this is the primary concern, why not simply subject Uber drivers to the same regulations as a taxi driver would have, but still do away with the fixed number of licenses in a location? You're basically using scare tactics and what are essentially corner cases to invalidate the whole system, which is also a sign of sloppy thinking.

Comment: Re:Why is this so hard to understand? (Score 1) 193

by Akratist (#49136223) Attached to: Uber Offers Free Rides To Koreans, Hopes They Won't Report Illegal Drivers
I'm not really sure how I'm describing the world in terms of "black and white" here? The problem with most social and economic theories is that they tend to be designed to run "ex vivo," if you will, without much consideration for the vagaries of changing conditions. It's why the concept of pure anarchism tends to fall apart...people are going to make agreements to solve the inevitable problems that would occur in a truly stateless society, and some sort of ad hoc government is going to arise, simply because the tendency is for organization to occur. The problem comes when people assume that because a current system exists, that there is no need to test or challenge it, or that testing it is undesirable. It's also appleish and orangeish to compare a fixed utility with cab licenses, anyway. There is only so much space to run wires, while cars are not fixed in terms of where they go or what they're doing. If we take Boston's 1825 cabs and say, well, if Uber cars are running around, this will cause congestion...we're assuming that the people who are using Uber would otherwise not be on the road. If we say that congestion is a problem, in the city, why not outright put a quota on car use in a city? This is effectively what happens when parking costs and tolls are high, I suppose, but it's not an outright ban, but based on the money that people are willing to pay.

Comment: Re:Why is this so hard to understand? (Score 1) 193

by Akratist (#49135993) Attached to: Uber Offers Free Rides To Koreans, Hopes They Won't Report Illegal Drivers
The way I understand it, and feel free to correct me as IANATCO (I am not a taxi company operator), taxis operate as essentially a licensed monopoly in most places. There are X number of cabs allowed by law, and companies have to get a license to operate a cab. To start with, that's artificial scarcity, which benefits the people who initially have the resources to buy a license, meaning the barrier for entry for the average person is higher, as well as driving up the price that a person would pay to use the service. Second, I won't go into the legality of it, as simply stating that "it's the law" is a meaningless argument, as laws may or may not be moral, ethical, or fair. Third, the general implication here is that if there is more of something, then it is somehow worse. By the same logic, we should limit the number of car companies, or grocery stores, etc. In other words, you're essentially saying that monopolies are good, and that existing businesses -- simply by virtue of already existing -- should not be forced to compete or alter their business practices. I will say that you're probably right in some respects, in that we would end up back with some sort of relatively stable model, but my issue here is the assumption that because there is a system already in place, it shouldn't be challenged, tested, shaken up, and evolved, or that because there is a system already in place, it's the optimum mix of fairness, reliability, safety, and quality.

Comment: Why is this so hard to understand? (Score 3, Interesting) 193

by Akratist (#49135863) Attached to: Uber Offers Free Rides To Koreans, Hopes They Won't Report Illegal Drivers
Everyone here is all about "Net Neutrality," because they are against monopolies, yet pile on something like Uber which is an alternative to the licensed taxi monopoly. Furthermore, people are focusing on the positives and negatives of Uber as it is implemented and practiced, and are missing the larger picture. If Uber is a crappy, dangerous way to get a ride, that reputation is going to spread and the company is going to fail. If it's as safe as a regular taxi and provides benefits that people would not find with normal taxi service, it'll prosper. Quite a few comments seem to revolve around the fact that Uber acts as a middleman, and don't like that. Are those same people pissing and moaning about everything from Ebay to Walmart, which also acts as a middleman between producers and consumers? For that matter, what is the practical difference from me asking a person if they will give me a ride for gas money and an extra $20 for their time, even if I don't use an app? Personally, I wouldn't use Uber, but I also wouldn't smoke pot, yet think people should be free to do either if they are willing to assume the risk involved. If Uber sees that people don't have confidence in the trustworthiness of their drivers, then they are going to have to respond to that, or lose business.

Comment: Think About Yourself (Score 3, Insightful) 698

I recently started writing "book of thoughts" for my own daughter, and was struggling to think of what to put in it. I then thought of the conversations I'd have with my own father over the years, the things I'd learned from him, and the things I'd wanted to ask him but had never come up. Over time, I realized that in spite of what each generation wants to think, their problems are not necessarily new, but are the same sorts of things with different window dressing...and that the same conversations I've had with my own daughter have really echoed the ones I had with my father. Be curious about new ideas, don't live beyond your means, double check anything you're told, be honest because once you get a reputation for not telling the truth, it's impossible to get rid of it, and so on. I'd also assemble a "reading list" of books that have been influential or important in your own life, and given that you're foresighted enough to be doing a project like that, I'm sure there have been a few. Maybe even put some in a time capsule for her, when she's at the right age to read and understand them. And, if you have them still laying around somewhere, I would include notes from college, and personal papers. After my other father passed away, reading things like that he had left gave me some insight into his life at different times.

Comment: Re:Standing head (Score 1) 599

by Akratist (#49128343) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules
I was happy when I gave up voting, some years ago. In a well-run country, it would mean something. In America, the vote is meaningless, both in terms of ability for a vote to affect an election, but more importantly, to effect any impact on governance. The problem is that, no matter who holds an office, the system is rigged to create the same outcome. We're spied on, wars are fought in our name, we subsidize too-big-to-fail businesses, Senate office elevator operators, etc, because there is to way that the interests which benefit from all these would ever let them be endangered, certainly not through the capriciousness of the electoral process.

Comment: Just as an FYI (Score 1) 599

by Akratist (#49128261) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules
Those wacky right-wing zealots at the EFF posted an article about some issues with the "General Conduct Rule" that is being proposed. To be honest, it sounds a lot like a catch-22 that could be used to go after almost any provider on almost any grounds. The potential for abuse is staggering, especially given the very blurred lines between the private and public sector in recent decades. Link: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/...

Comment: Re:Science seems subjective and political now (Score 1) 681

by Akratist (#49110567) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge
Everything is subjective and political now. People can't even agree on the facts, much less on the conclusions. And, it's all in a light of which political side people perceive you to be on, in terms of what actual truth is or isn't. There's really nothing like political debate or exchange of ideas anymore. It's just a race to see who can insult the other side first, then stick their fingers in their ears and go "nyah! nyah! nyah!" while Rome burns. And, it really has nothing to do with educational level or socioeconomic status. Some of the biggest cocks I've had the displeasure to talk to have held PhDs in respectable institutions and the subject of discussion was in no way related to their field of expertise.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor

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