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Comment: Re:Internet - lite (Score 1) 79

by Bob9113 (#49348529) Attached to: NY Times: "All the News That Mark Zuckerberg Sees Fit To Print"?

make your own web page...mass email your friends...signing up for a blogging site...signing into and out of websites...locking yourself into a relationship with a company...basic internet skills that every single American should be taught in High School.

Wow. That really is a huge concept. We're trying to teach everyone to write software, which is like teaching everyone to be an engineer, but we're not teaching them the skills to be independent on the Internet, which a much higher percentage could and should have.

Very well said, and insightful. Thank you!

Comment: Beat Your Plowshares Into Swords (Score 3, Informative) 123

by Bob9113 (#49254513) Attached to: Mass Surveillance: Can We Blame It All On the Government?

Ed Snowden has stated that mass surveillance is "about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power." A sentiment which has been echoed by others. Who, then, stands to gain from mass surveillance?

Whoever has the best combination of intel and computer aided psychological operations tools. We The People can win, because we have the numbers on our side by an enormous margin. We just have to recognize that we're in a war and beat our plowshares into swords.

Learn big data. Learn information security. Learn hacking. Learn mesh networking and darknets. Learn cryptography and steganography. Build a client for your favorite communications platform and start spidering the new commons. Whatever tickles your fancy, or all of the above. Network with others with those skills. Get your friends to register and start aging off multiple social network personas, each with credible histories. Develop a following, or multiple followings with different personas, on new media.

Best case, none of the things that look like they are already happening actually come to pass, and you'll have a valuable career skill set. Worst case, you'll have the tools you need to defend the nation from a bloodless coup built on next generation propaganda.

Comment: Homeopathy That Works is Called "Medicine" (Score 1) 447

by Bob9113 (#49246711) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

Of course, anyone with compelling evidence to the contrary (or better yet, proof to the contrary)

Homeopathy that has been proven to work is called "medicine." That's how a lot of medicine gets invented; people use some tree bark and goat liver concoction to cure prickly heat, and lo-and-behold, it works! So researches come along and break it down to find the active ingredients, put it through proper testing, synthesize it, and get a patent if they can. Even if they can't lock down the active ingredient, they tweak the formula a bit, slap a trademark on it, and run a media blitz combined with distribution channel pressure to take market share. They make a shit-ton of money doing it, and they're not just letting the good answers sit there unexploited.

Comment: Re:Typical government official, breaking the law (Score 1) 538

Do you know what will happen to her? Not. A. God. Damn. Thing.

Not quite. Here's what'll happen to her: Once again, like in 2008, the Democratic Party Machine - which loves her not despite her total corruption but because of it - will try to ram her down our throats. As in 2008, we will cry out, "AYFKM?!?"

Comment: Cutting Off Speech? (Score 1) 533

Is it good to cut off access to the modern equivalent of the public square just because we don't like what is being said? Our ideas are better; must we fear, and attempt to silence, the toxic ideas we do not agree with? Which toxic ideas should we silence next?

Is it a victory to beat them by cutting off their ability to speak? How is this different from cutting off Mega's cashflow via PayPal and the credit cards?

Comment: Re:Too Much or Too Little? Economically? (Score 1) 305

by Bob9113 (#49112585) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

The problem with the argument is that it tries to distort the situation and ignores any useful discussion of the market value of the item in question.

The problem with market value, though, is that the market price of monopoly goods is not naturally regulated. Lots of people use the revenue of music to estimate its value, but monopoly goods are not naturally priced. Copyright is a government created artificial monopoly. It exists for a good reason -- to channel revenue into science and the useful arts -- but the sale price of monopoly goods does not, and cannot, accurately reflect the theoretical market price.

If there is a good way to estimate the value of music, that would be very useful. But it can't be revenue, so it would have to be something like: How much does "Me and Bobby McGee" (Janis Joplin version) make society better compared to "Steer" (Missy Higgins)? How do either of them compare to a table saw? I think those things are inherently difficult to measure, which is why I tend to focus on the resource streams going into production.

The resources going into music are highly mobile, with strong alternative demands, because they are mostly labor that starts at a young age when it can still be shifted into other fields with a low cost of transition. They are also very closely measured by the Department of Labor, so the data we have to work from is pretty solid.

Of course, my approach isn't the only good one -- and more measures are a good thing. Getting multiple estimates of the same market phenomena using different datasets is an excellent way to test for flaws in the measures.

Comment: Re:Too Much or Too Little? Economically? (Score 1) 305

by Bob9113 (#49112437) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

How would you measure if we have "enough" people in music creation? Do numbers count at all? What about quality? How many pop idols would be needed to outweigh a Leonard Bernstein? How many for an Elvis Presley?

I think that framing it in terms of quality of the output is an inherently subjective measure. I'd rather put it in terms of the resources that are getting put into music, and whether they are being used efficiently. So, for example, look at the labor flowing into music: How many kids neglect their studies to pursue a career as a performing artist? How many adults earn above the median wage as a performing artist? If that ratio were 1:1, I would say it would represent a shortage. If that ratio were 10:1, I would say we were in "arguably valid" territory. If it were 100:1, I'd be thinking we're wasting potential from the labor pool (and creating a disenfranchised class of failed rock stars, which are a drag on the economy in other ways). My gut feel is that we're in the 100:1 ballpark or higher.

There's no easy or perfect measure, but if it is important, it can be measured. The trick is to think through the consequences of a distortion, then figure out how to measure for that distortion. How to Measure Anything is an excellent book on the topic.

Comment: Too Much or Too Little? Economically? (Score 2, Insightful) 305

by Bob9113 (#49111855) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

The implicit argument in this clumsily biased summary is that Pandora is paying too little. But does that hold up to scrutiny? From an economic perspective, it is an easy thing to measure. Music economics runs on artificial scarcity, copyright. So the amount of money flowing into music is not something naturally regulated by the free market, but a decision we make by adjusting the lever of copyright law. Something we've been turning up for a century now. So here's the underlying question: Are we dedicating enough of our economic resources to this industry whose cashflow is predominately artificially generated by law?

Are we spending enough, as an economy, on the production of music, or do we have a shortage of people willing to enter the music creation business? If there is not a shortage, we do not need to increase copyright cashflow. If there is a surplus -- if, as an example measure, we have too many kids neglecting their studies to pursue pipe dreams of superstardom -- we should be making copyright less strict and shifting some of our GDP into other productive industries.

Comment: Re:Nothing ever happens to them. (Score 1) 78

by Bob9113 (#49047897) Attached to: FBI Can't Find Its Drone Privacy Reports

I don't know who you blame for the way things are. Is it the fault of the violators of the Constitution or the complacence the general public seems to have regarding government malfeasance?

I have to place the blame with government officials. 80% of the public sways with the breeze because they are busy making the economy run and raising their families. It is both the job and the duty of elected officials to take their job as our representatives seriously; to not abuse the implicit trust of the 80% that is too busy working and raising their families to check up on the politicians' every decision. Assuming you have a sufficiently professional job, your boss doesn't check your work every day to make sure you haven't become corrupt or malevolent. It is not unreasonable to expect the same of our representatives.

The unfortunate reality -- tested countless times through ages -- is that when government officials neglect that responsibility for too long, the club, guillotine, or musket will make a sloppy end to their hubris. The Founding Fathers were wise to lower the barriers to that path; not because it is desirable, but because once it becomes inevitable, the least suffering comes from getting it done quickly.

Comment: Source Versus Machine Code? (Score 4, Insightful) 411

by Bob9113 (#49031521) Attached to: Your Java Code Is Mostly Fluff, New Research Finds

Really? Are they just pointing out that source code is meant for human readability, and the actual instructions are more concise? Is anyone surprised by this? Even a quick compression test shows me 80% reduction without even removing the most obviously human-oriented stuff like comments and long variable names.

Can I get some of this research grant money? I've got a theory about sparse matrices mostly containing zeros.

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