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Comment: Re:Common sense (Score 1) 491

by Copid (#49329765) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
I've found that exercise changes what I want to eat far more than the amount I want to eat. The amount probably follows from what I'm eating. If my body is screaming out for celery and I'm eating celery, it's unlikely that I'll eat the equivalent of "one bag of Doritos" in celery. It's celery. I eat it until I've had enough celery and I'll stop. If my body isn't screaming out for celery and I pick up a bag of Doritos, I may eat the whole bag without even noticing it.

I'm guessing that if I were to eat the same food whether I was exercising or not, I would probably not be inclined to eat less. It's just that when I'm working out, my brain starts to see food as fuel, so I acquire the fuel and move on instead of engaging in whatever habitual behaviors normally drove my eating patterns.

Comment: Re:It's simple. Eat less and eat less crap (Score 1) 491

by Copid (#49329683) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
And at your size, any exercise at all ramps that number up pretty quickly. My wife was always jealous that when I started exercising at or near her exercise schedule, I burned a ton more calories than she did. The analogy I used was, "You're a Toyota Prius cruising along on electric half the time. I'm one of those Hummers with the tattered American flag rumbling down the freeway." I'm not as big as you are, but I was surprised at how quickly I dropped weight just by doing yoga, which isn't exactly high on the list of calorie burning exercises. There's a world of difference between what it takes to do some of those movements when you weigh 115 pounds vs 205.

Comment: Re:Move more, eat less (Score 1) 491

by Copid (#49329605) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

But isn't eating more than you need just another way of "wasting food"? :)

This is a really excellent phrasing that I've never heard before. I'm stealing that and spreading it far and wide.

I've seen plenty of people who are stuffed to the gills eat a little more food to keep it from "going to waste." Hell, I've done it myself. But you don't need the nutrition and you clearly derive no pleasure from it, so how is that any less wasteful than smearing it all over your face or throwing it into a lake? It achieved nothing good. The only thing you can say about it is that the food is gone. At that point, you're just using your body as a waste receptacle.

I guess the major lesson from this is that you waste food when you make or take too much food. Once that's done, it's waste no matter what you do with it, so solve the waste problem at the front-end.

Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 3, Interesting) 491

by Copid (#49329493) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
It also recenters your brain's assumptions about what is "sweet enough" in other foods. If you've been drinking soda regularly to the point where a good apple tastes like cardboard, the calories from the sweet drinks has become only part of the problem. I know people who knocked off the zero-calorie diet sodas and suddenly found their overall eating habits improved because they didn't crave as much sweetness in other foods.

Comment: Re:to read it another way (Score 1) 336

by Copid (#49303015) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden
Legally that's not how it works. The Fed can create money and buy bonds and Congress can issue bonds. But if they reach the debt limit and decide not to issue those bonds, the fact that there's infinite money sitting in an electronic account at the Fed makes no practical difference. They're still not going to be able to pay their bills.

The possibility of minting high value coins was an interesting one, but it seems to me that if they ever got to the point of minting trillion dollar platinum coins, they'd have gone so far beyond parody that it would be pretty hard to go back to normal operations. Then again, the Republicans have been agitating to get Reagan's face on some money forever. A trillion dollar platinum coin with his mug on it would work on a lot of levels.

Comment: Re:Why is bitcoin popular again? (Score 1) 254

by Copid (#49284965) Attached to: Evolution Market's Admins Are Gone, Along With $12M In Bitcoin

The question is do you have any cases where the fdic didn't have to make people whole because they stopped the bank from collapsing?

The historical record strongly implies that the very existence of the FDIC has prevented a lot of banks from collapsing. Just look at the rate of bank failures per year pre-FDIC and post. The idea of a "bank run" was a quaint historical thing for decades after the FDIC came into being, and bank failures for any reason declined enormously until the 1980s.

The most recent failures are sort of a vindication of a deposit insurance and regulation scheme. As people moved from insured accounts to uninsured money markets to get higher rates, they exposed themselves to the possibility of a "run" on the money market. That happened in 2008, and it looked in many ways like an old-fasioned bank run. So it's a bit of a natural experiment. A massive run on money markets didn't turn into a run on insured accounts simply because the accounts were insured.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 340

The parent makes an interesting point. If the same data they ostensibly have every right to inspect in unencrypted format were printed out in its encrypted form and you agreed to open the case, would they have the right to compel you to tell them how to read it? Or would the act of opening the case and giving them the coded papers be sufficient for compliance? If they can't compel you to decode the papers after opening the case, I don't see why they should be able to compel you to decode your digital papers after handing over the device.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 671

by Copid (#49176273) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

He KNEW what the potential punishments where before he broke the law. I say that if you care that much about the cause, do the right thing and don't run, stand and fight injustice in court in front of a jury.

You're oscillating back and forth pretty freely between "illegal" and "wrong." If the penalty was his execution and the execution of everybody in his family, would standing trial and losing still be the "right" thing, or would the only "right' option in that case be to not break the law in the first place? What if the penalty was the execution of his family and he was blowing the whistle on secret government-run death camps? You're taking a rather absolutist position here and I'm wondering if you've really thought it through to its logical ends. Is there really no time when it's right to break the law and flee the consequences?

REAL civil disobedience is when you break the law, full knowing the consequences, ready to make your case about how the punishment isn't fair to a jury and if you loose, being punished.

I'd be more inclined to that position if it was actually legal for him to make the case to the jury that what he did was in the national interest or that the law was unjust. Unfortunately, those arguments aren't permitted. Legally, the reasons for doing it aren't relevant. The only question is whether he did it, and he has already admitted to that. There's no "making his case" in this process at all.

The perversity of the situation here is that there are a lot of perfectly reasonable defenses for crimes that are not allowed as a matter of law. If you position hinges on using those defenses in some spectacular manner to lay bare the immorality of the law and make a great public spectacle, you're going to be sorely disappointed when the judge tells you to shut the fuck up and wait for the jury to find you guilty.

Did Rosa Parks say to herself, "I'm going to break the law today and show these people how unfair it is, but when the police show up I'm going to run and hide so they don't punish me!"

If the death penalty was a likely outcome for the infraction, I doubt Rosa Parks would have done it in the first place. She'd probably have kept her head down like everybody else, and we might be sending black people to the back of the bus today.

If we make it so the only way people can do the right thing is to forfeit their lives in exchange, we're going to end up with not a lot of people doing the right thing.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 671

by Copid (#49175633) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial
If the penalties were similar to the penalties for blocking traffic in protest or refusing to go to the back of the bus, he may very well have rolled the dice. When the penalties are life in prison or the death penalty, that seems like a lot to ask. There's a reason why we celebrate people who die for their beliefs as heroes. It's because most people aren't willing to, and demanding it of anybody is pretty unreasonable.

Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 599

by Copid (#49134691) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Why do you need to "wire up a large geographical space"?

Sure, it's possible that a lot of little ISPs could cover an area effectively as well and compete with the monopolists on a block-by-block basis. Economies of scale work against it, but it's possible. I don't think such an ecosystem would create too much competition, though. Any ISP capable of starting up and surviving in a tiny footprint would likely choose the most under-served space to do it, so you'd expect most areas to be "monopolist + 1 small ISP" instead of a few ISPs, which is what you'd get with a lot of large operations working a city at a time.

Then again, "a lot of large operations working a city at a time" is exactly what we don't have, so the 1 small / 1 big equilibrium is better than nothing.

Really? I don't believe that's true.

You don't think that the number of people with competitive broadband depends heavily on the definition of "broadband"? If I define "broadband" as "a working sewer system" I think we'd see a substantial increase in the number of people with broadband. And if you define it as a 25Mbit Internet connection, you'd see a much smaller number. So when the telcom industry tells rosy stories of robust competition in the broadband industry, they're using a definition carefully chosen to make that story true.

Netflix works fine at 3 Mbps, what more do you want?

Netflix recommends 5Mbps for HD and 25Mbps for UHD. If we want to stick to a single stream at SD, it's great, though. Previous generations survived with low res black and white televisions with no ill effects, so we could actually get away with a lot less than that. As long as our Internet usage patterns remain what they were in, say, 2012 for the foreseeable future, we can define ourselves as having perfect infrastructure and decalre victory.

Weirdly, the US broadband market seems to be the only tech market where we haggle over how many years ago everything became "good enough" to stop improving. I mean, Intel keeps putting out better processors even though MS Word runs perfectly well on the ones from a few years ago. It's hard to fill up the hard drives we buy today, but they're still getting bigger. Which is good, because cloud storage sucks at 3Mbps, so all of the possibilities on that frontier are out the window unless we upgrade.

Furthermore, many of those subsidize broadband, so it's actually a lot more expensive than it seems.

It's these kinds of vague, hand-wavy assertions that drive me nuts. This stuff is just numbers, and it's knowable. Which countries and how much? What's the definition of "a lot more expensive" in terms of dollars per month so it's easy to compare? I admit it's hasty back-of-the-envelope work, but I'm not able to subsidies that work out to the equivalent of more than a few dollars a month.

The reason why that matters is not pricing, but that Comcast at least has to keep their equipment and services competitive.A government-mandated monopoly doesn't even have to do that.

They have to keep their equipment and services competitive with whatever a new competitor might bring online, but they can keep their prices at monopoly levels until that competitor actually does come online. The fact that Comcast has to keep up efficiency doesn't result in all that much benefit the end user if it all ends up in monopoly profits. The fact that it's marginally better than a government ISP is still damning with faint praise.

Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 599

by Copid (#49134139) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Yes, mostly due to government regulations, planning departments, and other governmental gatekeepers.

I don't doubt that those contribute significantly (although nobody seems to want to put up real numbers to back up the claim), but even in the absence of regulation, wiring up a large geographical space is bloody expensive. There are very high capital investments to be made in either case, and you have to be reasonably sure they'll pay off.

I'm perfectly willing to believe that our regulatory regime is the major source of the problem, but I'm skeptical that the problem is "regulation exists" rather than, "our regulation sucks." I mean, not all of the countries that are beating the snot out of us on the broadband front are known for their light regulatory touch. Their regulatory environment likely just encourages competition better than ours does.

Actually, the majority of Americans have two or more wired providers, plus two or more wireless providers. That's in addition to satellite Internet and various local options based on microwave links.

I think this hinges pretty heavily on the definition of "broadband." A lot of these claims are based on somewhat dated thresholds like 4Mbit, which is "broadband" by some definitions, but kind of laughable when you compare the results to other civilized countries. Once you get to higher tiers like 10, 25, and 50Mbit, things start looking substantially less competitive.

I'm hopeful for what wireless providers will be able to bring in the coming years, but the competition situation for real broadband right now is pretty grim, limited by the fact that the best ways to move lots of data fast is over physical wires and it takes time and money to run wires.

If Company X can offer the same service as Comcast but more efficiently, then it is rational for Company X to enter the market. What Comcast currently charges makes no difference.

That needs to be phrased very carefully. It needs to be able to do it more efficiently than Comcast at its equilibrium competitive price. Your second sentence is key. What Comcast currently charges isn't the rate you have to beat. The target rate is whatever you think Comcast could cut its rates to if it had to compete with you. Given that has already amortized a goodly chunk of its capital investments and it's able to bundle with television and sell one or the other as a loss leader depending on the market, that makes it a risky prospect. So unless you have a real ace up your sleeve, you'd generally invest elsewhere and Comcast never actually has to come anywhere near that rate.

Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 599

by Copid (#49133751) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Not where I'm living.


Even in markets where Comcast has a monopoly, it has to keep its prices low enough and its product up to date enough to make it unprofitable for other players to enter.

Sure. But the barriers to entry for the broadband market are tremendously high, which is why most locations have only one major provider. If you want to become a broadband provider, you'll usually choose a place without an existing broadband solution, because otherwise you run the risk of a price war that could make your newly built infrastructure a lot less profitable. The fact that Comcast could lower prices in itself is a disincentive for others to enter the market, which basically means that Comcast doesn't have to lower prices. It's similar to when companies like WalMart announce that they'll beat any competitor's price. That's partially to get your business, but it's also a very public announcement that nobody else should even bother trying to compete on price, which prevents WalMart from actually having to act on its guarantee on any large scale. The counterintuitive net result is higher prices on average.

With barriers to entry being what they are, keeping your product good enough that nobody risks huge piles of capital to build out risky new infrastructure is about as high a bar as keeping your service just barely good enough that people don't vote you out of office. Sure, it could happen, but it probably won't. It keeps things from getting ridiculously bad, but they're still pretty damn bad. The fact that Comcast is just slightly better that a government agency that provides a service you need in order to live really is damning with faint praise.

I'll be honest about my personal experience--just about the only government agency I've dealt with that is worse to deal with than Comcast is the California DMV. I'm fairly certain that if they outsourced the DMV to Federal Express or, the whole operation would be a single rack of servers and a couple of guys to keep them running and mail out the printouts.

And you have a choice whether you buy Comcast's product, a choice you don't get with many public utilities.

That's true in the sense that you can choose not to have broadband Internet access at all while skipping out on running water or trash collection is not really a good option for most people. If we needed broadband as badly as we needed city water, you could bet your bottom dollar that Comcast's prices would be even higher than they are now and their service would be even worse. A much better setup would be if you could choose between Comcast and some other technically comparable alternative, but that's not a reality in most places. In terms of market outcome, there's a world of difference between "My optional product or my competitor's optional product," and, "My optional product or go fuck yourself."

Comment: Re:I hope this wasn't a trojan horse (Score 1) 599

by Copid (#49130493) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

What might help is if we got the competition going with more companies laying cable in the same area competing for the same customers. The argument that this is not profitable is a fiction. The cost of laying cable is trivial IF you exclude the costs that cities and counties charge ISPs to lay the cable.

I'd like to hear some of the numbers on this one.

Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 599

by Copid (#49130367) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Next thing, they are going to push for making Internet service a public utility and monopoly.

Broadband already is basically a monopoly and hugely overpriced. I'm not a fan of turning it into a regulated utility, but let's be honest about the state we're in. If Comcast is your only viable option, you're already dealing with a provider that acts more or less like a government department, just one with higher profit margins.

It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.