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Comment: Re:Good for Amazon! (Score 1) 76

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49546381) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
Shipping costs for Amazon is steadily climbing, while revenue for shipping is flat. For all the squeezing of the carriers, they are still bleeding there. Amazon is basically paying a $3-$4 billion dollar subsidy to their online business to elbow aside the competition, by eating half the costs of shipping.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

(BTW, kudos for your coherently made points.)

I guess the heart of the matter is what is "reasonable suspicion" in this context and what "reasonable suspicion" allows. Police can do all kinds of positive information gathering actions based on "reasonable suspicion" based on good sense in the given context. Did the officer in question have "reasonable suspicion"? Did the kind of "reasonable suspicion" here, presuming he had such, justify detaining a citizen?

It is not obvious, given the law of the land. The Court made a determination that sounds okay to me.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

That you for the clarification, but my point still stands. The officer did not have probable cause to force the citizen to stay put beyond the time to complete the write up of the citation, which is a kind of detainment, for him to acquire the additional resources to employ this other kind of evidence gathering that steps up to the line of the 4th amendment. What the officer in question did, in some sense, laudable, obviously; but not all arguably laudable police actions are legal under the 4th amendment.

Whether the dog or psychic or dowsing rod is in his vehicle, right now, or 8 minutes down the road is irrelevant. In his good judgement, he should have more resources on hand to employ this other kind of inspection.

My reading of the Court ruling is that he had the option to use his dog immediately. That he chose otherwise is probably wisdom -- he does not want his unprotected back turned to a possible criminal if he stumbles upon evidence of a crime. Good for him.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 5, Insightful) 399

Hmm...actually the ruling is more narrow than that. The Court seems to be saying that if the police officer happens to have a dog on hand right now it can sniff around the car. But it is not reasonable to keep a citizen waiting around for the convenience of the police officer to use every possible implement that comes right up "to the line" of the citizen's rights.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 536

I am not going to rebut that article, so much as respond with a "So what?" The massive increase in costs are most likely explained by the enormous changes in women's professional prospects since 1970. The costs per pupil have approximately doubled during a time period that women's median incomes have also approximately doubled. Obviously, the business details of how schools are run are more complicated than such a simple model as that. But the Cato Institute understands this data and the obvious implications of this correlation, and they are using a lot of smoke and mirrors to keep the discussion superficial enough that you might not notice. There are some interesting questions to investigate regarding trend comparisons between states, but that article only scratches the surface of the topic.

Comment: Re:a phone (Score 1) 237

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49479969) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament
Which is indeed a great accomplishment. But whether it is the equivalent of being as good a chess player as the best human is a choice of definitions. Normal humans do not get to claim to be the best player of game X, without grinding through the ladders and/or tournaments. That is a very real cost with potential significant long term downsides the computer player skipped over.

Comment: Re:a phone (Score 1) 237

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49472483) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament
LOL. My serious counterargument is to be genuinely as good as a human player, the computer program should qualify for the big name tournament by entering lesser many tournaments and racking up a game history that could be studied for weaknesses. IMHO Kasparov played on a not level field, because his long career was open to study and his computer opponent's was not.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 1) 489

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49464177) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

And I would further emphasize that my argument is actually the solid libertarian one: What does the contract say? A real libertarian would go straight to that point. But this author is not a libertarian -- he is a ridiculous shill for rapine corporations.

Mind you, I might actually be okay with the ISPs spelling out the truth: "We promise X bandwidth for our Comcast High Speed Certified Content Providers (tm) and Y bandwith to the real internet." But Comcast does not want to spell out the truth. They just want to break the contract and blame someone else, as an excuse to demand more money, precisely because they know that this is area of law exists in a libertarian dystopia where it is not practical for individual customers to enforce the contracts in court./p?

Comment: Re:Banalities.. (Score 2) 109

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49447863) Attached to: A Data-Driven Exploration of the Evolution of Chess

As someone who has played little chess but quite a few war/board games, the article is unsurprising, too. At first glance, chess looks like an offense heavy game. In offense heavy games, aggressive moves, even aggressive moves from novices, often provoke errors from novices forced onto defense. But as the game is studied, how to build efficient defenses with implied counterattacks converts offensive potential into defensive potential. Not every game works out that way, but the ones we keep going back to play again and again certainly do.

We could imagine a variant of chess where the first player advantage were much larger. If 80% of the victories went to white, chess would just not be considered as interesting a game. A degree of lopsidedness can actually add to the game, playing black is a slightly bigger challenge, but there is a point where people tend to throw up their hands. The lopsidedness between colors in chess is quite small, as these things go.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 5, Insightful) 489

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49441019) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

The article is a really painful read that takes forever to get to the heart of its points, which seem to be:

In fact, ISP price discrimination is as likely to help new entrants as hurt them. Non-neutrality offers startups the potential to buy priority access, thus overcoming the inherent disadvantage of newness. With a neutral Internet, on the other hand, the advantages of incumbency can't be routed around by buying a leg-up in speed, access, or promotion.

That an incumbent content provider might enter into an agreement with an ISP to gain advantage over its smaller competitors in a non-neutral environment may be a reason to scrutinize such agreements under existing antitrust laws. For instance, if an ISP with dominant market share refused to give access to online content that competed with its own, antitrust law might look askance at such conduct. But it doesn't justify presumptively hamstringing an ISP's commercial arrangements when such conduct isn't remotely typical."

These are actually gobsmacking arguments for any serious libertarian to make. First of all, the idea that a new service should rightly throw money at the problem because new guys cannot compete by merely being simply better on an even playing field completely demolishes the heart of libertarian theory. Second of all, "gee, the gov't might save us from this abuse with antitrust laws" is an endorsement of the idea gov't should solve these kinds of problems. If antitrust law is good, perhaps net neutrality rules would be better? You cannot fall back on gov't competence in an argument against gov't oversight.

But for me, neither argument matters, even if they were correct. The real problem is the ISPs are making clear promises to their customers, and then they are trying to shake down the content providers with the threat of failing to meet the customer's reasonable expectations, based on what is written in the contract. When I pay for a promise for bandwidth, I want that bandwidth. I do not want the ISP to make secret re-negotiations about what bandwidth really means.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 0) 489

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49440745) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

Actually, you counterargument does not address sribe's point at all. An UNARMED suspect fleeing the scene is (almost) by definition someone who fails to meet the threshold of "poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others".

In fact, even an armed suspect may fail to meet that standard, which is the actual reason the courts spelled this out in the first place. "Well, he was armed and seemed angry and failed to comply with police orders" is not sufficient reason to gun down a fleeing suspect, unless you know specifics about the suspect that indicate that they are someone likely to use lethal force.

Comment: Re: Oh, Okay (Score 1) 587

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49415097) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political
I agree. Even before 1960, retreads of "Frankenstein's monster runs amok" and "here in our dying galactic empire..." were run of the mill. In fact, Asimov's great accomplishment is to figure out how to start discussing ideas about how robots might affect human society that did not involve any machines running amok.

Comment: Re: Oh, Okay (Score 1) 587

by Comrade Ogilvy (#49415015) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political

It may not be a dystopic story, but it takes place in an extremely dystopic setting that seems sophisticated to teenagers because it employs slightly subtle royalist and "ends justifies the means" arguments. The idea that there could be non-feudal or non-authoritarian forms of gov't that could sway the human future are simply handwaved away with the suggestion that such societies can never effectively compete.

As for the story itself, is not clear that Paul makes the world a better place in any clearly positive nameable way. It is implied he prevents complete evil (the Harkonnens) from making a grab for the imperial throne. But the fact the Harkonnens could even attempt that is really a side effect of the nominally religious Bene Gesserit having abandoned pretenses of morality for a chance to seize more power.

Comment: Re:If no deal, then Iran *will* get nukes (Score 1) 383

"a nuclear program for decades" does not really mean anything. It is a deliberately wishy washy description that could include a single guy with a Physics bachelors who downloads stuff off the web and reads standard textbooks. We built our first bombs in less than three years, after proof that chain reactions were possible at the the Chicago pile, back seven decades ago. With so much useful information about nuclear fission out in the public record today, that a program that last decades without building a weapon is actually evidence of a lack of enthusiasm in going nuclear at all.

The secret of the nuclear bomb is that it is practical to build a nuclear bomb. Any nation who really makes it a priority is likely to succeed within 5 or 6 years. Several nations have demonstrated exactly that.

Comment: Re:MAD does not apply (Score 1) 383

Even if Iran does not use weapons directly, they can provide small nuclear devices to terrorist groups. We'll be seeing those within a few years. Iran has backed a number of terrorist groups (like Hamas) for many, many years.

But even for direct attacks from Iran - remember that Iran is full of many, many people who are basically innocents, rules by leaders that are almost wholly insane and do not care if their own people die.

If Iran were actually ruled by leaders who thought that the 12th Iman would return and kiss their own crispy foreheads as well as the crispy heads of their grandchildren, they could have simply rained down conventional missiles on Israel and gotten that response. Why not go to heaven sooner, rather than later?

You do not get the full benefits of membership in the nuclear club by acting crazy. The crazy talk is not actually helping North Korea, it is only causing China to see the day to whip North Korea into better behavior is coming sooner than they expected.

Held onto as a last resort, nuclear weapons are a positive asset. Employed recklessly, nuclear weapons are a liability -- because once you have been proven to be completely reckless, the entire nuclear club with see the reasonableness of scraping your sorry nation off the face of the earth with nuclear fire. Where is the fun in that?

Furthermore, letting nuclear weapons out of your fortified safe places is dangerous. Crazy terrorist groups do crazy things. In the case of Iran, the ME is filled with enemies. Can you be sure it will not be captured and used on YOU? Absolutely sure? Is this a risk that is so worthwhile? Mossad is likely to figure out where the bomb came from -- there are only a few possible sources. So your plausible deniability game does not guarantee anything.

You should never bet against anything in science at odds of more than about 10^12 to 1. -- Ernest Rutherford

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