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Comment: Used to be with it, but they changed what "it" is (Score 2) 371

by Cajun Hell (#46695497) Attached to: Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

the new crime

Vandalism and pranks are not new. And this particular form (tipping/inverting/moving_to_weird_places any unusually small/light car) is something I've heard of going back to at least as early as the 1960s. Your grandparents were doing this when they were kids (assuming your grandparents were assholes).

Next on slashdot: someone spraypaints the screen on someone else's phone! It's all part of the new Anti-Tech Movement!! You are totally a square and working for The Man and thinking-inside-the-box and not-cool, if you aren't doing this yet. You probably don't even have an onion on your belt, lamer. Get with it, man!

Comment: The price is still too high (Score 1) 518

by Cajun Hell (#46639565) Attached to: Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

100% of people eventually die. If every person's death costs society $6M (on average) then society is doomed to bankruptcy unless people generate at least that much GBP per capita per lifetime. Wikipedia shows average income as about $32k per year so everyone needs to work for about 187 years before the die. And that's to break even.

They don't work that long.

If we say everyone should have to work about 50 years, then society breaks when a life is worth about $1.6M. Keep in mind, breaking even means utter desolate poverty; each person generated enough wealth and pays 100% income tax, to reimburse society for their later costly death. At that break-even point, no person can afford to eat a single meal in their life time, no person ever lives under a roof, etc. We probably want to do more than break even (life should be worth living), so even $1.6M is probably an extreme overestimate of the cost of death.

Of course, this is all based upon certain assumptions. ;-)

Comment: Re:Peering and Bandwidth Symmetry (Score 2) 182

by Cajun Hell (#46546881) Attached to: Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue

Since the beginning of peering, the rules have always been that if you have roughly the same amount of traffic inbound and outbound, peering has no charge. If one direction generates more traffic than the other, the source pays for the asymmetry.

And to think: I have been paying my ASDL provider, when I should have been charging them.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous. (Score 1) 914

Here in the UK, there's a whole bunch of sentences that don't involve time in prison. People can be fined or made to work so many hours in community service or prevented from being in certain areas etc.

Those are all examples of something that you would never tolerate being done anyone, unless it were a criminal sentence. Instead of referring to them as fines or compelled service, you would call them theft and involuntary servitude. Being part of a punishment changes everything, and makes the intolerable become tolerable (or even downright desirable and a good idea). If I pointed a gun at your face and said "pick up that trash" or "teach these kids to read" then I think we would later find ourselves in court, where the whole topic of conversation would be my criminal actions rather than the relatively benign actions that I wanted to force you to perform.

Who are you to tell me (hypothetical drunk driver) I'm not allowed to visit pubs? Who are you, to stand in my way and forcefully prevent me (hypothetical pedophile) from enjoying a nice sit on a bench in the playground, where I can admire and chat up the delightfully fresh, juicy children? Oh, you're the government, enforcing my criminal sentence, that's who. Good thing, because if anyone else tried to interfere with my life in such a manner, that person would be in big trouble.

It seems absurd to think of preventing convicted pedophiles from hanging out in playgrounds as "torture" but if a non-government entity followed you around and consistently harassed you (a person not convicted, or even suspected to be, a bad guy) are you sure you might not use "torture" to describe it?

Also, what about government's role in building infrastructure such as roads, airports etc?

If I pointed a gun at your face and demanded 500 quid because I want to hire some guys to build a road, then we'd be back in court again, with you at the witness and me as the accused. Building roads and airports is technically fairly easy (you don't need a government for that) and anyone could theoretically do it ("Tonight on Gardener's World: Monty Don shows you how to build a path around your rose garden."). The hard part is getting the resources (laborer's time, materials, the land itself). We have agreed to allow a special entity go around to force everyone cough up their share of the expense. It's not a crime when that entity does it. It is a crime if anyone else does it. If there weren't so many expenses involved in building infrastructure, we wouldn't have the government do it, because we wouldn't need to. ("Tonight on Love Your Airport: Alan Titchmarsh shows an elderly widow how to construct an eight thousand foot long reinforced-concrete runway.")

It's a dirty job, but we all come out ahead if we get together and agree to make a special entity exempt from the usual prohibitions against doing it.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous. (Score 1) 914

we cannot, as a society, debase ourselves by resorting to torture of the mind, body, or soul.

What else is there? Have you ever heard of any sentences in any societies, that didn't involve that stuff in some form?

All sentences are intended to do normally-intolerable things to a convict, where whatever you do to them, would literally be a crime if it weren't part of a sentence. The whole point of government is to create a highly-regulated monopoly on those dirty things that "nobody should ever do yet somebody's gotta do it."

IMHO any activity that isn't usually considered evil, is not a job for government. If you ever find out your government is doing something not repugnant, then you should revoke your government's power to do that thing. Everything they do should make us think "ugh, that's horrible" followed by "except I guess it'd be even worse if they didn't do that."

Comment: Re:Crypto-coin advocates = anarchists or libertari (Score 1) 221

by Cajun Hell (#46483433) Attached to: The Future of Cryptocurrencies

in the real world, figuring out whom to trust and whom not to, is something everyone already does.

Were that true, Mt Gox wouldn't have been in business.

Mt Gox is a great example! Ok, so I mis-spoke when I said everybody already does it. I meant everybody already knows they should, and a majority of people do it. Most people wouldn't do business with Mt Gox, and the few who did, either got an "oops" reminder or had to shrug and admit they had been taking great risks.

You've got to remember that especially over the last year, a shitload of people involved in Bitcoin (and especially the people you hear about in the media) had been thinking of Bitcoin as a speculative investment, not as a type of money. They're the same kind of get-rich-quick-without-doing-anything people that were "day trading" a decade ago. They either knew they taking risks when they worked with companies like Mt Gox, or they were fools.

I'm amazed that people think Mt Gox somehow shows a failure in Bitcoin (or as some weird exception to all the same money-related common sense that people normally expect to see in other people and themselves). You've got this thing in its total infancy, going through its recent speculation bubble, and this is as bad as it gets?!

The especially funny thing about Mt Gox is that if they had been a dollars-euros exchange and the same thing had happened (where they disappeared with a bunch of peoples' dollars and euros) I wonder which currency people would blame it on. Was it dollar's fault, or was it euro's fault? (I just know that people who'd say "It was neither a dollar or euro problem; fools will be fools and sometimes they get burned," would be called anarchists or libertards.)

Comment: Re:Crypto-coin advocates = anarchists or libertari (Score 1) 221

by Cajun Hell (#46477357) Attached to: The Future of Cryptocurrencies

Citizens shouldn't need to check the status of each company they do business with. That would be too much work for individual in the real world to ever do it.

If you're going to make that argument, then please don't bring the real world into it, because in the real world, figuring out whom to trust and whom not to, is something everyone already does.

I'm not really saying we shouldn't have a common set of protections; nobody is going to say "I'm pro-fraud." But we really do disagree on how low the bar can be, what risks (and expenses to insure against risks) are acceptable, and so on. And in the real world, everything is about risks, not absolute protections. One company uses a VISA merchant account, another just has a paypal account. Who are you to say one of them is wrong to accept Paypal's offer (or that both are wrong, since the company should just be waiting for checks (or cash) in the mail)?

People don't even know what the common set of rules is. I just assumed it was illegal for credit card companies to sell to third parties, information about what products I buy, but no. Go next door in one direction, and you'll find someone who is astonished that I could be so naive. Go next door from there, and you'll find someone else who still doesn't know, and is equally astonished for for the opposite reason.

Every time you see a piece of paper with a shitload of fine print, you are looking at direct evidence that nobody is satisfied that the lines are in the right places, and everyone is doing something about it, by sending out that fine print or by continuing to do business with the people who sent it to them.

You can build regulated structures out of unregulated primitives.

Experience says you can't.

You've had some unique experiences, then. Dollars themselves used to built out of less-regulated gold. Western Union, credit cards, and other more complicated (and more "rulesey") things were built out of dollars. Paypal, complete with its frustrating freezes (suddenly labeled "over-regulation" or "private regulation" by those burned), was built on credit cards and bank accounts. Your experience doesn't include any of this? (Or to call up my previous analogy, CPython and its wonderful garbage collection, is built atop C.)

And Bitcoin certainly isn't regulated.

Exactly. It's not, and it probably won't ever be (unless governments persuade people to adopt some blockchain policy changes). Yet, in the news today, Singapore says it intends to regulate Bitcoin exchanges within their jurisdiction. That's what I mean about building regulated things upon unregulated primatives. You might not understand Bitcoin, but if a government were to tell you that a particular Bitcoin escrow had that government's full faith and backing, then you might be willing to use that escrow, even if the funds were stored as Bitcoin. At the same time, there would be people out there, possibly having fun with Bitcoin and doing business with each other using that currency, without ever using that exchange and getting themselves stuck in the regulations.

Just like what happens with dollars.

Comment: Re:Crypto-coin advocates = anarchists or libertari (Score 1) 221

by Cajun Hell (#46476529) Attached to: The Future of Cryptocurrencies

Now ask yourself why, since the 19th century, we decided that government regulation instead of contracts was a better solution?

Now ask yourself why we decided, since the mid-late 20th century, that it had been a bad idea, and reversed it.

That happened across the spectrum, not even just for money. In Slashdot's favorite topic (no, not cars!), people are constantly going on about how copyright's terms got replaced by EULAs and even when there isn't a EULA, the legality of various actions is determined by "authorization" (by non-government entities), and I recently heard of something called "soft law" where the government is sort of involved in things and sort of not, all without having to bother with that old "Congress" nonsense.

As for money, I know people routinely make decisions about whether to use debit cards or credit cards based on chargeback predictions, where even debit card dollars are different than cash dollars in certain ways, and then some people are seriously into various "rewards programs" (or frequent flyer miles, or whatever) where they "earn" company currency that they spend (instead of dollars) on highly-restricted availability markets, whereas some other people actually convert dollars to company currencies, that they spend on files from Microsoft or Apple. (And I'm just scratching the surface on all the variants of company currencies.)

The idea that all money should be the same and have the same rules, might not be as old as my 19th century attitude, but it's old enough to label you as quaint and hopelessly out of date. And strangely, my 19th century view is more contemporary than yours. (I guess we do things in cycles. Laugh at me in 2060 when "neo-civil law" is the thing on everyone's lips.)

What happened is that we all disagree what the rules should be. So we agreed on one thing: we'll all go our seperate ways, sometimes as a conscious decision, sometimes with a whip at our backs, and sometimes by trickery. And yes, you (probably) agreed to also, every time you use one of these various cash alternatives. Bitcoin is just one more among the dozens, except interestingly, with the least amount of corrupt and co-opted baggage (so far).

Comment: Re:Crypto-coin advocates = anarchists or libertari (Score 1) 221

by Cajun Hell (#46468053) Attached to: The Future of Cryptocurrencies

Addressing those issues sounds like a neat idea. Best of all, if you really want to, you can do all that stuff today with Bitcoin, through use of contracts, only sending money to agencies that can prove they've posted a bond (i.e. sent money to to someone you have decided that you trust, such as a government), etc. Whenever you need the extra security, you pay for it, just like everyone always does with dollars. The difference is that when you don't need those things, with Bitcoin you can opt out (or rather, it doesn't automatically opt you in).

You can build regulated structures out of unregulated primitives. I'm not anti-Python; I'm just sayin' that sometimes a little C can be very useful. Not every program needs garbage collection.

Comment: Re:Interesting parallel (Score 1) 132

by Cajun Hell (#46467551) Attached to: US Court Freezes Assets of Mt. Gox CEO

It would be a delicious irony if people were able to recover some of their lost value due to government regulations.

The most delicious irony would be if his funds were frozen, and then he used "unfreezable" funds to hire a lawyer to argue in court to get his fiat funds unfrozen. Part of the point (I admit, there's a lot more to it than that) of asset freezing is to prevent justice so that suspects have a harder time defending themselves from abusive use of power. Bitcoin is one of the proposed solutions. But of course that means that Bitcoins thieves can't necessarily be fought the way you fight other types of thieves. What an interesting problem to have.

Comment: Re:When are the bank runs going to happen? (Score 2) 704

by Cajun Hell (#46398319) Attached to: Bitcoin Exchange Flexcoin Wiped Out By Theft

That's what I'd do if had these things: withdraw from the "bank" and sell for $US before mine get stolen.

There's a flaw in your plan: it presumes you are worried about them being stolen. But if you were worried about them being stolen, then you would have already secured them (by holding them yourself instead of having some semi-anonymous unaccountable un-security-auditable party hold them for you).

Comment: Mt Gox theft car analogy (Score 1) 232

by Cajun Hell (#46348169) Attached to: Mt. Gox Shuts Down: Collapse Should Come As No Surprise

I *really* don't understand the process where they could be stolen. Could someone please explain it?

Someone ran TV ads saying "I run a car exchange. Send me your money and I will send you a car some day. Or send me your car and I will send you some money some day."

People sent their cars and money. At first, the company appeared to be doing business normally, and with an expected markup. People would send them a car worth $10000 and they'd get back a check for $9000. Or they would send $10000 cash and get back a car worth $9000. It looked fairly reasonable as long as you didn't ever read anything that company's founder ever wrote, where he seemed kind of thoughtless or foolish about both money and cars. But hey, life is complicated and it takes all types.

One day, people noticed they would send $10000 cash and instead of getting a $9000 car, they would get a note saying, "oops, your car isn't ready yet. Hang on." Some of those people would say "ok, give me my $10000 back," and the company would say "Um, we're having computer problems. We've sort of forgotten who has sent us money and got a car in return, and who hasn't. Give us a few months to sort it out. You know how computer problems are. Please bear with us!"

Then one day the company closed, while they still had a bunch of peoples' cars and cash, that they never gave back. The cars and cash are somewhere, but not in the possession of the people who sent them. The person who has them, is considered to be a thief.

Then people read the news story and said "See? This proves that car technology doesn't work."

Comment: Re:Is MtGox Bitcoin? (Score 1) 232

by Cajun Hell (#46347983) Attached to: Mt. Gox Shuts Down: Collapse Should Come As No Surprise

MtGox is a large part of the Bitcoin "brand."

That's entirely subjective and also controversial. It's true that lots of people who have heard of Bitcoin have also heard of Mt Gox, but we have no reason to believe that a significant number of them used Mt Gox, do we?

You might as well say Russia is a large part of the Olympics brand. That's true and also not true, depending on how you're choosing to look at things.

Much of the value attributed to Bitcoin comes from the perception that it can be traded, easily, for traditional currency

I think this is definitely wrong and a large supermajority of Bitcoin users would say that exchanging it for traditional currencies is relatively difficult compared to all other things that can be done with Bitcoin. And they're not saying it starting in late February 2014; they're saying it in 2010. Show me a Bitcoin advocate who has hawked fiat exchange as one of its advantages or being an important aspect of Bitcoin's utility. For the last few years, nearly all I have heard about Bitcoin, has been the exact opposite.

Exchanging with regulated currencies has always been seen as a barrier. Not only that, but it has (and is) always predicted to be a barrier. No one is even saying that exchanging Bitcoins for dollars or euros is likely to become easier some day. It's pretty much exchanging Bitcoin for other things (anything but highly regulated things) that the Bitcoin economy as faith in. "Corrupt" or low-tech fiat currencies are seen as the problem that Bitcoin is intended to solve. (Whether the problems are that its value is disconnected with reality, or that it isn't easily/cheaply transmissable.)

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

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