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Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 3, Interesting) 385

There is a saying that goes "share your wealth with us or we will share our poverty with you". The whole point of the EU is that the stronger members bring up the poorer members so that they don't dissolve into financial chaos which tends to have other inconvenient outputs.

That's actually the problem with the EU. Poverty doesn't go away just because you reduce trade barriers. If it did, NAFTA would've turned Mexico into a shining beacon of democracy. You need political and legal reform to disperse the conditions that are causing the poverty.

The EU does take some steps towards this - e.g. harmonizing product standards. But for the most part the EU countries are insisting on political independence. That's like trying to hitch up a bunch of horses of different athletic ability to a single wagon under the premise that the faster horses will bring the slower horses up to speed. What really ends up happening is the slower horses end up getting dragged along, and the faster horses end up having to work harder (e.g. Germany and Greece). You need to condition the horses until they're of similar fitness (i.e. political reform until they're of similar economic strength) before you think about hitching them all to the same wagon.

The U.S. tried what is basically the EU approach in the 1700s when it first won independence from Britain. Mostly because of the bad aftertaste of the overreaching British Monarchy, each state wanted to govern itself as if they were separate countries. That lasted about a decade before it became obvious it wasn't working, and a stronger central government was needed if there was to be a union.

Comment: Re:471 million? You may want to think about that. (Score 2) 243

by metlin (#49756021) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

471 million potatos is a lot of potatos.
471 million .2mm bits of plastic is enough to cover in plastic all of the living rooms in California.
Wait - no - one living room. Or about a dinner-plates worth a day.

Every day. That's the difference.

Even assuming that it's a dinner plate sized amount of pollution, over two decades, you are looking at 7300 dinner plates. Only, broken into little chunks, easily consumed by aquatic life and smothering plants, clogging pipes etc.

+ - Jason Scott of Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs-> 1

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your close tor a drawer full of CD-ROM media mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case" and now (ten years later) the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain mentally ill individual named Jason Scott has a fever and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we’re talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It’s over. The time when we’re going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there’s going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I’m looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 2, Informative) 1082

by Solandri (#49732701) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

I'm aware of the velocity of money and the perception that poor people pour money back into the economy rapidly while rich people don't (and it matches my personal biases, so I like the idea a lot) but -- I'm trying to figure out what the rich can do with money that actually takes it out of the economy. Unless they actually stick dollars in suitcases and store them in the wine cellar, almost anything else I can think of puts the money in someone else's pocket one way or another. Stuck in banks: used to back bank loans.

You're starting to get it. It isn't whether poor people or rich people get more money - that's a fantasy concocted by people to justify their biases (whether it be dislike of rich people or dislike of poor people). What matters is the usefulness of the things they spend it on. For the money to improve the economy, it has to increase overall productivity. A rich guy spending money on gold-plated toilet seats doesn't increase productivity. A poor guy spending it on meth doesn't increase productivity. A rich guy spending it on a new computer which helps him organize his work and thus get more work done increases productivity. A poor guy spending it on food so his teenage daughter can stay home studying for high school instead of working so the family can eat increases productivity.

Kicking it up an abstraction level, the true currency is productivity. Money is just a (loosely tied) representation of productivity, distorted by inflation, inequality in negotiating leverage, corruption, etc. Things which increase people's productivity are good for the economy. Things which don't increase productivity or decrease it are bad for the economy. Whether raising the minimum wage helps or hurts the economy depends entirely on how it affects productivity.

Rich people are richer because they on average tend to spend their money more on things which increase their or others' productivity. Poor people are poorer because on average they tend to spend money more on things which don't improve their or other people's productivity as much. Are you angry and ready to hit reply because you think I'm saying poor people make stupid spending decisions and deserve to be poor? Then you need to re-read the previous paragraph. What I'm saying is if you guide and teach poor people how to spend their money more productively, they will become rich people. This isn't a zero-sum game - everyone can become rich if everyone makes good decisions. That is much more important than raising the minimum wage.

Comment: Re:Mixed reaction (Score 1) 318

by Solandri (#49728653) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States

As long as the medallion and similar limiting systems continue to exist, all gloves are off as far as I'm concerned.

The medallion system exists because the number of cars owned by the population far exceeds the capacity of the roads. If that weren't the case (e.g. in small towns in rural U.S.A.) I'd completely agree with you. But as long as road space is limited, something needs to keep the number of "I think I'll make a few extra bucks today by taxiing random strangers" people in check.

Can it / has it been abused to protect establish taxicab companies? Probably yes. But that doesn't mean the system is completely without merit.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 3, Insightful) 529

by Solandri (#49711965) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Social liquidity is very low in the U.S. so if you are born poor, hard work will not be enough to bring you out of it, you also need luck.
what we need is a system that isn't stacked against people based on what family they were born into.

My family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s with only $1000 and the clothes in our suitcases (our (Asian) home country feared mass emigration, and limited how much money you could take with you to the equivalent of about $500 per adult). For years we lived in low-income housing, bought staples from the local Salvation Army, and rummaged other people's garage sales trying to find bargains. We were basically lower class, except we had no preconceptions about what we were "supposed" to do. Nobody telling us like you are that "the system" was stacked against us so it wasn't worth trying to fight it. We fought tooth and nail to better our lives.

Today we're in the lower fringes of the upper class. Most of my extended family immigrated shortly after, and most of them have "made it" into comfortable middle-class lives. A few are upper-class (including one who owns a multimillion dollar cell phone store chain), and one is still stuck in low-income housing. So we are not an outlier. This is what you can really do in this country if you don't have any preconceptions about breaking out of the lower class, and really try to succeed.

If you have the willpower and the ability, you can succeed in this country regardless of what circumstances you were born into. Hard work can in fact bring you out of poverty. If you believe it when others tell you otherwise, you've already given up on the game of life. You cannot succeed if you don't try, and telling people it's not worth trying is consigning them to their current state for the rest of their lives.

In general society would benefit a lot from funding all or part of everyones education with taxes. Even if you don't intend to study more yourself you benefit from people around you getter more educated.

The U.S. already spends more on education per student than any other country. The problem isn't funding for education.

IMHO the problem is a lack of desire to take advantage of that education to better yourself and your circumstances. My parents were flabbergasted at the quality of education that was being provided "for free" by the government here, and made sure my sister and I always kept up with our schoolwork. It was an opportunity they never had when they were kids (unless you count forced indoctrination into Imperial Japanese philosophy that all other Asians were put on Earth serve them). And they made damn sure we took full advantage of it. That's the main difference I saw between myself and the other students. I never took public education for granted because my parents emphasized how fortunate I was to even have it.

Comment: Re:Cost bigger issue than sonic boom (Score 1) 73

Also the sonic boom issue was more FUD by Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed than the real issue. Back in the 80s, before the oil crisis, these companies wanted to stop British Aerospace and Aerospatiale from establishing a bridgehead at the luxury travel sector using Corcorde and its derivatives. But thankfully the Arab oil shock stopped Concorde.

Out of curiosity, how old are you? I was a kid in the 1970s. 1970s jet engines were LOUD. When we were playing during recess and a jet plane passed overhead at 30,000 ft at the right orientations (certain directions were noisier), we basically couldn't hold a conversation without yelling. That's how loud they were. They were a great way to demonstrate that sound was slower than light because it was so damn loud it was obvious exactly where the sound was coming from. Your ears could indisputably pinpoint the sound as coming from several hands-breadths behind the plane.

The concerns about the Concorde's sonic boom being even louder were very real. The planes we have today where you often don't even notice they're passing overhead are a poor point of reference, and a testament to how great a job the engine manufacturers have done at reducing noise.

Compare that to 54 kilowatt, total maximum possible power output of those two turbojet engines. 100,000 kW for 10 mph wind vs 54 kW for Concorde. Our eardrums and instruments are sensitive enough to pick up the sonic boom over 10mph wind, but thats about it.

Total energy isn't as important as the spectrum. If all that energy is directed into a narrow low-frequency band, it'll be a lot noisier even at a lower energy level, moreso at the lower frequencies (the atmosphere absorbs higher frequencies more rapidly). In fact that's mostly what the engineers have done to make today's jet engines quieter - changed their noise profile to spread that acoustic energy over a broader spectrum of frequencies and into higher frequencies. The scalloped cutouts on the trailing edge of newer engine cowlings does exactly this.

Comment: Re:Anecdotal evidence (Score 4, Informative) 240

by Solandri (#49711185) Attached to: How Windows 10 Performs On a 12-inch MacBook

On the occasions I forget a charger I have to minimise running Windows or I'll be running out of battery at least twice as fast as when using OS X. I can get work 7 Hours using just the battery on my rMBP with occasional excursions to Windows to check mail but or use corporate windows only tools but running windows will only give me 3 hours.

The 15" rMBP has a 95 Wh battery and lasts 7-8 hours. The Dell XPS 15 with similar hardware and a higher res screen has a 91 Wh battery and lasts 6-7 hours under Windows. If you're only getting 3 hours in Windows on your rMBP, that's more an indication that Apple has put very little effort into optimizing their Windows drivers. Not an indication that Windows sucks.

If you want to compare the 13" rMBP, it has a 75 Wh battery and lasts about 10-12 hours. The Dell XPS 13 manages 9-10 hours with a battery only 2/3rds the size (52 Wh) and a higher res screen (3200x1800 vs 2560x1600). If you get the lower res screen (1920x1080) it'll go 15 hours.

Comment: Re:And now for a real question (Score 2) 214

Why does Microsoft get to determine the lifetime of *MY* hardware?

They're not determining the lifetime of your hardware. You're free to continue using Windows 7 or 8 on that hardware as long as you like (or at least until they stop supporting it - 2020 for Win 7, 2023 for Win 8).

They're just setting limits on who they'll give a copy of Windows 10 to for free. They're the ones giving the stuff away for free, they get to decide the rules for who qualifies to get it for free. If you don't qualify, you are no worse off than you were before.

Comment: Re:Bad good idea (Score 1) 198

by Solandri (#49706635) Attached to: European Telecoms May Block Mobile Ads, Spelling Trouble For Google
Actually, I think a bigger issue is that as long as ad blockers are optional extensions used by a small percentage of browsers, advertisers and Google are likely to ignore them. But the moment ad blockers become implemented wide-scale (like at the ISP level), the arms race will progress one step further and advertisers will come up with methods which break such ad blockers. e.g. Code their site so the content of their page won't load until their ads have first loaded. I've already run across a few sites which do this, and have to temporarily allow scripts from certain ad sites to run before I can view the content.

Also note that in retrospect, Google advocating https for everything wasn't entirely altruistic, as it would effectively preserve a site's original ads barring a MitM attack or malware infection on the browsing computer.

Comment: Plagiarism? (Score 2) 90

by Solandri (#49706579) Attached to: On the Taxonomy of Sci-Fi Spaceships
Skimmed TFA. If I remember correctly the spacecraft construction volume for Traveller (an RPG probably most famous for the use of AI to figure out optimal solutions to the game rules, to defeat all human opponents in an annual competition), his spaceship classes are identical. Corvette, frigate/escort, destroyer, cruiser, battleship, carrier, dreadnaught.

I suppose it might not necessarily be plagiarism. Those classes are pretty similar to how most naval fleets are strategically divided.

Comment: Re:"Cashless" is meaningless (Score 1) 294

by Solandri (#49703903) Attached to: The Solution To Argentina's Banking Problems Is To Go Cashless

But that's the problem with Greece's current government. They should have attacked austerity, not the measures they are expected to undertake to re-balance their economy with the rest of Europe. Many of the Torika's requirements were real improvements that would have been long term very positive for the Greeks economy and some of those are the ones the Greeks are attacking the hardest, rather than attacking the real problem, which is this Austerity idea that you can succeed by cutting spending during a recession. The Greek economy was heavily damaged by the Austerity drive where the measures should have been more targeted towards competition and divestiture of state assets because it was those very state assets and the salaries they included that bankrupted the Greek government to begin with.

The Greek economy was damaged by spending beyond their means. "Austerity" is just an attempt to simulate what would normally happen to a currency when a country goes as badly into debt as they did (average income exceeds average productivity, so the economy has to contract until these two are in balance again). Had Greece still been on the Drachma when they went into debt, the value of the Drachma would have fallen against other currencies (much like the Argentine Peso has been doing), and the Greek economy would have shrunk until the artificial "growth" due to their previous (and current) overspending had been erased. Eventually the Drachma would've settled at a value where Greeks were no longer making more income relative to their productivity than other countries.

However, since Greece was on the Euro, this couldn't happen. They were being artificially buoyed by the other economies on the Euro. Or alternatively, their debt was dragging the rest of the Eurozone down. The austerity measures were merely attempts to simulate what would've happened if Greece had still been on the Drachma, while keeping them on the Euro. That's what most Greeks don't seem to understand - the austerity measures are not meant to punish them, they're a last-ditch attempt to normalize their economy relative to the rest of the EU so Greece can stay on the Euro. Any "punishment" that results from austerity was caused by their own overspending. If Greece refuses to accept austerity, the only remaining option is to boot them off the Euro, forcing them back to the Drachma, at which point the Drachma would go into freefall crushing their economy just as if they'd accepted the austerity measures or worse.

Comment: Re:Tetrapods (Score 4, Informative) 33

by Solandri (#49698717) Attached to: Scientists Discover First Warm-Blooded Fish
Water conducts heat away about 25x faster than air, and the heat transfer rate is proportional to temperature differential. Until the organism gets to a very large size or develops some serious insulation, trying to maintain a constant body temperature underwater is a lost cause.

TFA describees an adaptation for minimizing loss of internal heat to the water (counter-current heat exchange of blood entering/leaving the gills). An adaptation that AFAIK no land animals has, though I have heard of some animals having it in their extremities (blood leaving their core to the extremities exchanges heat with blood returning from the extremities, thus preserving internal body heat. I'd be curious if birds which fly really high (upwards of 30,000 ft) have it in their lungs, or if the energy consumption needed to fly at those altitudes is sufficient to offset any heat loss.

It's also a bit of a stretch to call this warm bloodedness. It's not thermal homeostasis, the process that keeps your internal body temperature at 37 C regardless of environmental conditions.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.