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Comment Re:Mass unemployment (Score 2) 477

This issue is coming in every non-creative industry, and everyone paying attention has known this for a long while now. At first I expect many of the current unskilled jobs will be converted into "machine overseer" jobs, but there will be fewer of those positions and they will go away at some point as well. Eventually we're going to have deal with the reality that there is simply not enough work to go around, especially for unskilled laborers.

Comment Re:The ethical issue is that it's still a car (Score 1) 477

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

Self-driving electric cars can be self-recharging (when not in use), widely shared (why own when you can rent an autonomous taxi at any time?), and more efficient (tested and efficient algorithms over human randomness, less traffic, etc). These cars won't approach the efficiency of mass transit, sure, but they'll be a big improvement over the current situation in terms of energy usage/pollution. Suburban sprawl is another issue, but that's happening either way.

It's a step in the right direction. You're not going to flip a switch one day and get everyone to give up driving in favor of mass transit. It's just not going to ever happen, at least in the US. Better that we make improvements in a way that people will adopt rather than try and force something they won't only to end up achieving nothing at all.

Comment Re:Capitalism, or an un-critical consumer base? (Score 1) 261

While I'd love to blame an economic system for this, I feel the truth is more mundane: consumers are oblivious to what they are purchasing and are content to pay high prices for bad service.

What difference does it make? Saying capitalism doesn't work because consumers are ignorant is no different than saying socialism doesn't work because people are greedy. Yeah, it'd be great if we could change behavior to make these systems work as intended, but that's not really an option. If the system doesn't work, it doesn't work, period. The reasons don't much matter unless you have a solution to match them.

Comment Re:HTC should make some more models (Score 4, Insightful) 209

I think you've got it more right than anyone else here. Features like an SD card and removable battery are nice, but very few people care. Just look at how well the iPhone does with neither. What really makes a difference is how you sell your product. Samsung and Apple sell the exact* same phone across all carriers. Then they advertise that single phone straight to consumers, knowing that the carrier they're on doesn't matter. HTC sells the One X exclusively on AT&T. They sell Evos on Sprint. They sell Droid Incredibles on Verizon. They can't advertise a single product line to consumers, leaving them pretty much reliant on the carriers to push their phones for them. What do they expect?

When people think Apple, they think iPhone. Samsung, they think Galaxy S. HTC, they think... well, probably nothing. None of their product lines have a strong brand identity, so people won't ask for them. And when people won't ask for you product, how do you plan to sell any when you're competing against the products people will ask for?

* I realize some internal components are different, but as far as the average consumer is concerned, they're exactly the same.

Comment Re:Part of the solution? (Score 1) 243

I don't see how you can really blame this on Samsung. The Galaxy Nexus was subject to an import ban over this feature and couldn't be sold til it was removed. Yeah, that ruling technically only applies to the Nexus, but the feature is exactly identical across their other products. I wouldn't expect them to wait for each product to be banned before making this change, especially when that puts them at risk for Apple to claim willful infringement (subject to much harsher penalties), since they now obviously know the feature is infringing.

Comment Re:Well they are both rectangular (Score 4, Insightful) 696

If this gets upheld, Apple will be able to get an injunction on every Android phone because this is a core OS feature. I'd say that affects consumers. Plus, it seems like there's a pretty good chance that Google could find some patent between theirs and Motorola's that applies to the iPhone, which could lead to a counter ban. Maybe (hopefully) it won't get that far, but this is the patent armageddon that people have been worrying about with all these lawsuits.

Comment Re:Tab syncing: first thing I'll disable (Score 1) 46

It doesn't actually keep your open tabs in sync across different browsers, it just presents a list of all tabs you have open in each of your Chrome browsers. It shows up on the new tab screen in a popup menu along the bottom (or a tab on mobile). I agree with you that I wouldn't want my open tabs to actually stay in sync, but this implementation of it is really handy. You can totally ignore it if you want, but it's nice to have around.

Comment Re:This just isn't right... in any way (Score 3, Informative) 147

Because we aren't a direct democracy. Majority opinion doesn't always become law, and it definitely doesn't happen immediately. That's by design. But it still lies with the people to select the government. If our government representatives aren't doing what we want, then we have the power to select new representatives. If they're not doing what we want but we're re-electing them anyway, then that's our fault. No amount of money and corporate friends can buy a place in Congress. Instead, all that cash buys votes, but it's our fault for putting our votes up for sale.

A beauracracy the size of the US government will always have corruption in it, but it still always comes back to us when we don't remove those responsible.

Comment Re:Let's test them... (Score 1) 566

Sadly, our tests of these pseudo-scientific medical practices has shown them to come up short:

This is partially my point, though. This article says "sham" acupuncture is equivalent or better than the real thing, but leaves out that both are better than the usual treatment:

So yeah, all of the magic behind acupuncture and placement points and whatever other junk may not be true, but that doesn't change that there's something about the process of acupuncture that seems to help. So there's no need to throw it out. It really does help, and science should work to figure out why so we can make it better, not throw it away because it doesn't work exactly like practitioners think it does.

Comment Re:This is the danger... (Score 1) 566

The trouble is that you are basically jumping from "science can't explain everything" to "maybe one of these wooly theories is correct". Yes, it is certainly true that not everything is explained. That doesn't make some random wooly theory likely to be correct.

True, but at the same time, let's not throw all of the "wooly theories" away out of hand. I sometimes think that a lot of people see something like "Eastern Medicine" and stop listening right there. But just because science didn't generate the theory doesn't meant the theory can't be correct. Let's test them and see how they work, then teach the ones that make sense. There's no reason to limit ourselves wholly to theories originating from science or non-science when the ultimate goal should be improving medicine, whatever the source.

Comment Re:Coloured license plates to ID drivers (Score 4, Insightful) 307

The point of speed limits is usually not to keep you from going "too fast", it's to keep everyone going roughly the same speed. Driving gets more dangerous when cars are all going vastly different speeds. That's why highways also have minimum speed limits. Having someone going 25 on a 60+ mph highway is just as dangerous as having someone go 100.

This is less of an issue where there's not much traffic (parts of the Autobahn, for instance), and you could maybe make it work by having different lanes going different speeds, but there is a point beyond just making you drive slower than you're capable of doing.

Comment Re:No love for financial institutions. (Score 1) 694

Why shouldn't they pay the same tax, in both examples? Where you live should have no bearing on federal taxes, unless you're not in the country. Neither should kids. Kids are a personal choice, and if you can't afford them you shouldn't have them. But if you wanted to ease some of the burden, you could always create a deduction for the situation. Deductions make sense, especially in the case of something like charity, it's just the multiple types of income that bother me.

In the other case, presumably a retired millionaire has already paid taxes on the money he's earned, and he shouldn't be punished for saving a bunch of it in a bank account somewhere. And hey, if you wanted to reward someone for taking a low paying but very important job like school teacher, deductions are still there. There is still the question of the transition from one system to the other, but I'm only concerning myself with what the effect of either system in place would be.

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. -- Norman Douglas