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Comment: Re:Typical government official, breaking the law (Score 1) 535

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) 532

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.

Comment: Re:"Not intentional". Right. (Score 1) 370

by Bob9113 (#49030411) Attached to: Samsung Smart TVs Injected Ads Into Streamed Video

Sadly, I believe you and I will wind up living in our home-built worlds without televisions, running the Internet on hacked together Raspberry Pis, at the 1 megabit throttle level imposed on all unlicensed encrypted connections, as 90% of the world suckles at the teat of the beast.

Comment: Re:That's how today's voice recognition WORKS. (Score 1) 309

by Bob9113 (#49018981) Attached to: Samsung SmartTV Customers Warned Personal Conversations May Be Recorded

These firms can "retain" that information in the sense that it trains their voice-recognition algorithms, but they probably aren't building a huge dossier of your private conversations.

The cost of storage is under $0.03/gig/month(*). If the probable value of the data is greater than that, they would be making a bad business decision -- possibly violating their fiduciary responsibility -- if they are not storing it.

* Amazon S3 charges $0.03 for short-term, retail, on-demand storage, with value added

Comment: Violent Response Is Islamic State's Objective (Score 1, Insightful) 645

by Bob9113 (#49000681) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

"Does posting this video advance the aims of this terror group or hinder its progress by laying bare its depravity?" writes Wemple. "Islamic State leaders may indeed delight in the distribution of the video -- which could be helpful in converting extremists to its cause..."

Well said, I'm totally with you so far.

"... -- but they may be mis-calibrating its impact. If the terrorists expected to intimidate the world with their display of barbarity, they may be disappointed with the reaction of Jordan, which is vowing 'strong, earth-shaking and decisive' retaliation."

They were not aiming to intimidate Jordan. A violent response is exactly what Islamic State wants. They want the opposition to take the gloves off. Islamic State gets its power from blood debts. They want more blood on the hands of the opposition, just like Fox wants Islamic State to engage in brutality to push more people into the fire-breathing anti-Muslim camp.

The sooner you make your first 5000 mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them. -- Nicolaides