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Comment So myopic... (Score 1) 490

It's incredible how myopic this article and many comments are...

- World median income is about $100/month. So "most people" probably can't afford a computer, much less a DSL internet connection to their home. They probably can, however, afford a crappy TV and a crappy DVD player.

- I'm not sure that optical disks are necessarily better than flash drives. They can easily scratch or break. Plus, it would seem that BluRays (which would beat flash drives for the data capacity/price) were crippled by their DRM, and we won't be seeing them used as general purpose storage any time soon. And a crappy USB DivX player is even cheaper and more sturdy than a DVD player (probably because of the lack of moving parts).

- The only reason streaming exists, IMHO, is because the content publishers want to control the way that content is being watched and they especially don't want you to share it by yourself. Because otherwise there's no point for streaming, since you can just download the video bits in "chronological" order and watch it as you download it, assuming your bandwidth is sufficient. That's actually what your browser does when "streaming", it's just that you don't get to keep the video file as it's kept in the browser cache. And if your bandwidth is NOT sufficient, then when downloading you just have to wait until the time left to download is equal to the video duration. FYI, a 700MB movie can be downloaded in 90 minutes if you have a bandwidth with and average of 130KB/s. So in theory, even a 56K (28 hours at 7KB/s for 700MB) is going to be faster than snail mail (of course you won't like the film download hogging all the bandwidth, and there's another issue if data transfers are expensive for you).

- Netflix (whether rent-by-mail DVD or streaming) is only available in a few countries, the rent-by-mail DVD system would probably be illegal in many countries (that's probably one reason why Netflix clones haven't popped up in every first world country). Movie streaming services in general suck, even compared to regular DVD rentals, and it just gets laughable when trying to compare the diversity and quality of service of streaming services compared to "pirate" sharing systems.

- I'm willing to bet that the most profitable system for non-scarcity systems like digital distribution is a "pay-what-you-want" system (or at least a system where your average consumer considers the purchase "cheap"). Case in point : Humble Bundle, GoG and Steam. (Oh, and content distributors shouldn't insult our intelligence by trying to sell us a film download for more than a movie ticket.) But of course the MPAA won't release their control because that would be their end, so they are going to go on, kicking and screaming, until they are finally completely irrelevant...

Comment Re:TL;DR (Score 1) 345

Good points.

I was using this graph : , but it's only oil (and you see a stagnation rather than a decline, but since the EROEI goes down, the available energy for society from oil also goes down).

Increased efficiency plays a role, but if I'm not mistaken it's about 0.5% per year. I'm not sure if a better metric than energy per capita exists : you would need to somehow sum up the transformations that this use of energy allowed. Maybe computing exergy would be better?

Then, I guess my hypothesis comes more from the feeling that we're "scraping the bottom of the barrel" with the hydraulic fracturing and tar sands, while many of western countries show signs of political rot.

Comment Re:it is all about context (Score 1) 345

Obviously, for a regulated free market you need a strong, non-corrupt government first. And you would also probably need to dismantle the megacorporations. So that is the priority. Sadly, it doesn't seem that this is something that can be quickly fixed, even though Hansen's own campaign gives some hope...

Comment Re:Nukes good theoretically; practically, not so m (Score 1) 345

Some nuclear designs have fuel lasting thousands of years at current energy usage rate. (Whether any of those designs are feasible is another question.)

What makes you think we can't build and manage (even large) nuclear power plants without the help of large corporations?

"Don't try to outweird me, three-eyes. I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal." - Zaphod Beeblebrox in "Hithiker's Guide to the Galaxy"