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Comment: Re:Takes attention away from Putin (Score 1) 412

by AndyG314 (#48775217) Attached to: Russia Says Drivers Must Not Have "Sex Disorders" To Get License

3. The oil prices are set by international traders. You believe it's not possible to influence them? And if you remember 1980-s then you remember that the only real value of dollar after the fall of Bretton Woods is the USA-Saudi agreement and fact that anybody who sells oil for anything except dollar will become democratic - Saddam wanted euros and Iraq is a democracy now. Qaddafi wanted a gold dinar and Libya is a democracy, too. Imagine how much Obama wants to bring democracy to Iran, Syria and Russia. Especially after the SPb, Russia oil exchange began trading oil for yuans.

The price of oil is set, like the price of all goods by supply and demand. There are two ways to influence the price of anything, alter supply or alter demand. Demand is set by many independent actors all buying things, this is very hard for any entity to control. Supply on the other hand is often controlled by a few entities, restrict supply the price goes up, allow more supply the price goes down. This was OPEC's game for years. The price of oil was sky high for years, encouraging more production, which in turn created more supply, which brings prices back down. Not to mention demand decreases as people were driven to more fuel efficient vehicles, and explored alternative energy sources. Add in tough economic conditions around the world causing a softening in demand, all of this combined to crater the price of oil. But that low price will spur demand and that will cause the price to go back up. I know it's not as sexy as a conspiracy theory, but supply and demand curves accurately describe the way prices are set. (Which isn't to say there AREN'T conspiracies, they usually focus on limiting supply however, and how successful they are usually comes down to solidarity).

Obama can't control the price of oil, if he could, he would have dropped the price before the midterm elections that saw his party loose control of the senate.

While it certainly benefits the US that many nations price oil in dollars, it is mostly because the dollar is a strong, stable currency, that maintains it's value. Nobody want's rupels or yuans when they can have dollars instead. Russia's current currency crisis is all that is needed to show why.

Many counrtires, including Russia and China keep reserves of US currency and bonds, to use to prop up their own currency if need be. This is also the only real reason to keep large gold reserves as well.

4. You keep dollar high and gold low. You cannot stop it. And it only means that Putin cheaply buys gold. And he buys gold nonstop. Russian gold resources still grow during all this crisis. Chinese do the same. Imagine how glad is Obama. And how much he wants to make oil cheaper.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The price of gold is up, not down. The dollar's strength is mostly due to the euro being week. Putin and the Chinese can buy all the gold they want, they can keep it in a big vault and swim in it Scrooge McDuck style, who cares?

Comment: Re:Airline anaolgy is incorrect (Score 1) 448

by AndyG314 (#48759031) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

The bigger problem is that a lot of these channels will probably go away if they get rid of bundling. A lot of the smaller niche channels survive until they can support themselves by being bundled with more popular channels (and many of them never make any money and totally live off of other channels). If bundling is gone, then every channel basically has to be making money in a short amount of time or they will be gone.

For example, I would bet dollars to donuts that the Sci-Fi channel didn't make any money for years. It survived because it was bundled with other channels so cable companies were forced to carry it. Basically, unbundling means the channels downgrade to the lowest common denominator because no one will be willing to spend the money on hoping a channel can find it's audience.

I think this would actually be good. Perhaps then TV quality would go up, the cable channel market is way over crowded (Do we need multiple food network channels? More than one history channel? 3/4 ESPN's?) Most of what would be lost is chaff.

Comment: Re:And? (Score 1) 448

by AndyG314 (#48758977) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

But this is a weak analogy at best. I now pay for a bunch of sports channels and kids TV that I don't care about. Your example of internet access; if I'm not going to use it on the plane I don't have to pay for it. Same thing for the light snack or entertainment. I don't have to pay for it. Or I can bring my own candy bar. But with cable, if I want Channels X & Y, I have no choice but to get the package that offers Channels M through Z whether I want them or not. The idea that now you have to pay for a lot of things individually on airlines that you used to get for "free" assumes that I cared about any of those "free" things in the first place.

The problem is, getting rid of the things that you don't want and only getting the things you want, doesn't necessarily lead to lower prices.

People want unbundling of cable channels because they have done the following math:

200 channels for $100 a month = 50 cents per channel. Therefore, if I pick only the 50 channels I might ever possibly care about, my bill will be 50 x 0.50 = $25, a substantial savings.

But there's nothing forcing the cable company to charge the same price for every channel. If you have odd tastes and most of the 50 channels you like are very unpopular, you might actually get your 50 channels for around $25.. But there's nothing stopping the cable company from charging much higher prices for the channels they know are the most popular, so, you could end up choosing your 50 channels and still end up paying about the same amount of money that you pay now for 200 channels.

I don't think anybody seriously expects to spend $0.50 a channel, but 5$ each seems reasonable for most with a few (like ESPN) being 10. I'd rather spend 5-10 dollars on a channel I watch than 100 bucks for 100 channels 95 of which I never use.

Comment: Re:So.... (Score 2) 915

by AndyG314 (#43163143) Attached to: New Pope Selected

espouses church teachings on homosexuality, abortion and contraception

So nothing important is going to change then? Or am i misreading that?

So you honestly thought that they would elect a new pope who would didn't agree with long standing church teachings? What is interesting is that the new pope is a non European. As for what it means, or what will change, that has yet to be seen.

+ - My GPL code has been... patented! 4

Submitted by ttsiod
ttsiod writes: Back in 2001, I coded HeapCheck, a GPL library for Windows (inspired by ElectricFence) that detected invalid read/write accesses on any heap allocations at runtime — thus greatly helping my debugging sessions. I published it on my site, and got a few users who were kind enough to thank me — a Serbian programmer even sent me 250$ as a thank you (I still have his mails). After a few years, Microsoft included very similar technology in the operating system itself, calling it PageHeap. I had more or less forgotten these stuff, since for the last 7 years I've been coding for UNIX/Linux, where valgrind superseeded Efence/dmalloc/etc. Imagine my surprise, when yesterday, Googling for references to my site, I found out that the technology I implemented, of runtime detection of invalid heap accesses, has been patented in the States, and to add insult to injury, even mentions my site (via a non-working link to an old version of my page) in the patent references! After the necessary "WTFs" and "bloody hells" I thought this merrits (a) a Slashdotting, and (b) a set of honest questions: what should I do about this? I am not an American citizen, but the "inventors" of this technology (see their names in the top of the patent) have apparently succeeded in passing this ludicrous patent in the States. If my code doesn't count as prior art, Bruce Perens's Efence (which I clearly state my code was inspired from) is at least 12 years prior! Suggestions/cursing patent trolls most welcome.

Games Workshop Goes After Fan Site 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-anger-your-base dept.
mark.leaman writes "BoingBoing has a recent post regarding Games Workshop's aggressive posturing against fan sites featuring derivative work of their game products. 'Game publisher and miniature manufacturer Games Workshop just sent a cease and desist letter to, telling them to remove all fan-made players' aids. This includes scenarios, rules summaries, inventory manifests, scans to help replace worn pieces — many of these created for long out of print, well-loved games...' As a lifelong hobby gamer of table, board, card and miniature games, I view this as pure heresy. It made me reject the idea of buying any Games Workshop (read Warhammer) products for my son this Christmas. Their fate was sealed, in terms of my wallet, after I Googled their shenanigans. In 2007 they forbid Warhammer fan films, this year they shut down Vassal Modules, and a while back they went after retailers as well. What ever happened to fair use?"

Wipeout HD Loading Ads Scrapped After Uproar 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the vox-populi-vox-dei dept.
RobotsDinner writes "After Monday's story about intrusive, loading-screen ads being retroactively added to the PSN racing title Wipeout HD, the popular uproar has indeed succeeded in getting Sony to pull them. You can put your pitchforks down; your voice has been heard! A Sony spokesman said, 'The ad has been removed from Wipeout HD and we are investigating the situation to ensure that any in-game advertising does not affect gameplay.'"

Solar Machine Spins Sunlight-Shaped Furniture 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-because-you-can-do-something dept.
Mike writes "Austrian designers mischer'traxler have created a solar powered machine that makes an incredible array of furnishings that vary based on how much sunlight it receives over the course of a day. Titled 'The Idea of a Tree,' the machine spins spools of thread into stools, benches, containers, and lamp shades that wax and wane as the available sunlight shifts. Furniture created during cloudy winter days will be wrapped more slowly, causing it to be darker in color, thicker, and smaller than pieces created during the sun-soaked summer months."

Comment: Re:Headline wrong (Score 1) 1088

by AndyG314 (#26827851) Attached to: Iowa Seeks To Remove Electoral College
The goal here is to sidestep the electoral college, if all states send all their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote then the winner of the popular vote wins. It's an interesting idea, but I think that if you get enough support to pass this in most states, then you could just amend the constitution. But it's a good way to get the ball rolling and it's nice to see someone taking the issue seriously.

Comment: Re:Thanks from the reminder (Score 1) 971

by AndyG314 (#25166587) Attached to: How Close Were US Presidential Elections?
These results to me really underscore how important it is to get out and vote. If 300 people who already wanted Gore to win had gone out and bothered to vote, then the country might be in a very different place now. While this is somewhat dishartening, it's also empowering, every vote really does matter.

+ - Critical .mdb flaw Found - Microsoft may Never fix-> 4

Submitted by
SkiifGeek writes: "When independent security researcher cocoruder found a critical bug with the JET engine, via the .mdb (Access) file format, he reported it to Microsoft, but Microsoft's response came as a surprise to him — it appears that Microsoft are not inclined to fix a critical arbitrary code execution vulnerability with a data technology that is at the heart of a large number of essential business and hobby applications.

Where should vendors be required to draw the line when supporting deprecated file formats and technology? In this case, leaving a serious vulnerability active in a deprecated technology could have serious effects if an exploit were to target it, but it is a matter of finding the right balance of security and usability such that Microsoft's users are not exposed to too great a danger for continuing to use Microsoft products."

Link to Original Source

+ - How do you wean people off the car? 3

Submitted by Planetes
Planetes writes: The state of Washington and Seattle metro areas have inadvertently found a possible clue regarding how to begin weeding Americans off their addiction to the car. The answer? promote mass transit. Obvious you think? How about throwing in a twist: Close several lanes of I-5 Northbound (the main North-South artery between Seattle and points south) just south of downtown Seattle. Not for hours, but for weeks. The result: light rail ridership doubles along with most other forms of mass transit in the area. So, to repeat: how do you wean people off the automobile? Make it useless.

What sin has not been committed in the name of efficiency?