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Comment: Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 3, Insightful) 171

by Daetrin (#49539069) Attached to: USGS: Oil and Gas Operations Could Trigger Large Earthquakes
I'm sure a class action suit would work great.

Earthquake hits LA, does major damage. Oil and gas companies are taken to court in a class action lawsuit. (There's a lot of oil production here, especially around Long Beach.)

The case drags on for years, but eventually the companies have to settle, let's say for $10 billion. That sounds like a lot of money right? Except half of it goes to the lawyers. Then half of the rest is made as a tax deductible donation to the Red Cross for disaster relief. The remaining 2.5 billion is split amongst the approximately 18.5 million residents of greater Los Angeles. Which would come out to a little under $150 per person. And it's delivered in the form of coupons for 50% off your next 100 gallons of gas. That 2.5 billion will of course go into a fund until those coupons are redeemed, and i would be surprised if the companies responsible don't get to keep the interest on those funds until they're spent to reimburse the gas stations that redeem the coupons. And of course a lot of people will forget that they have the coupons and never get around to using them. And a lot of the people won't actually own a gasoline powered car and will have to try and sell the coupons, probably for less than market value.

(And then most likely the price of gas in LA will go up for "unknown reasons" until most of the coupons have been redeemed.)

Comment: TANSTAAFL (Score 3, Insightful) 171

by Daetrin (#49537463) Attached to: USGS: Oil and Gas Operations Could Trigger Large Earthquakes
As a favorite author liked to say, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Unfortunately we are very poor at evaluating externalized costs. The pollution put out by coal plants that are "far enough" away from cities, the fish that are killed by hydroelectric damns, the excess carbon produced by all fossil fuels, and now the potential for damaging earthquakes from large scale oil and gas operations.

Of course the first ones to ignore externalized costs are the business offloading those costs on everyone else. And if a magnitude 7 quake gets triggered and people get hurt or killed (potentially dozens or hundreds of people in the US and possibly many more in less developed areas) the corporations responsible ought to be liable for millions or billions of dollars. But if necessary they'll lawyer up for a fraction of the cost and drag the issue out in court for years until everyone forgets. After all, how do you prove that this particular quake wouldn't have happened without drilling? And how do you prove which company's actions triggered the quake?

Comment: Re:He has done more to hurt securty than help it (Score 2) 680

by Daetrin (#49536827) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden
Agreed. Snowden's actions _may_ have been somewhat detrimental to our security, especially in the short term, but they did a lot to help shore up the values we _should_ be concerned about in the long run.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." That Ben Franklin quote gets thrown around quite a lot, but that's just because it's so demonstrably true. It's always possible that the people in charge right now are good and honorable, but if you keep giving up liberties then sooner or later someone is going to come along who wants to abuse the system and there will be nothing left to stop them.

And just for the record, it should be noted that he said "essential liberty". We all have to give up some liberty to live in functioning society. Unfortunately everyone has different opinions about which are the "essential" liberties and when you've crossed the line between prudence and paranoia.

Comment: Re: Instead... (Score 1) 356

by Daetrin (#49522553) Attached to: 'Mobilegeddon': Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today
If there was a way to force it to expand all the article sections by default i'd be a lot more inclined to use the mobile site. As it is i often end up on wikipedia on my phone because i was searching for something specific about a subject and google suggested that wikipedia page contained relevant information. But then when i try to text search for the word/phrase that i did the google search on it fails because that section of the article is collapsed.

Comment: Re:Time for Proportional Fines (Score 4, Insightful) 92

by Daetrin (#49433445) Attached to: AT&T Call Centers Sold Mobile Customer Information To Criminals
You read a post on Slashdot and you didn't understand it.

The proposal is not that if a person commits a crime and pays X amount for it then if a company commits the same crime they should pay X multiplied by the difference in their income, which is what you're arguing against in your example of speeding tickets.

This is in relation to the kinds of crimes that (generally) companies commit, and is arguing that if a large company commits that crime then it should pay a larger fine than if a smaller company commits the same crime.

It is possible that the scale of the crime has been included in the size of the fee, but if so it's a pretty ridiculous standard to begin with. "Hundreds of thousands of customer records" is pretty vague, but let's assume records for 250,000 people. That means a fine of $100 a person. That's not nothing, but it doesn't really cover the potential damage they may have caused. And furthermore in this case, although we are presuming the employees did not sell the data as part of a corporate directive, the fact that they were able to do so indicates some pretty serious lack of oversight and security, and some portion of the fee ought to be related to that. And _that_ part of the fee ought to reflect the size of the company involved.

$25 million could easily bankrupt a small company, but AT&T will hardly notice it amidst the yearly revenue of $132 billion and net income of over $6 billion. So the fine works out to about 0.4% of their yearly profit. In 2011 the average American household had $12,800 of discretionary income available, about the best equivalent to corporate profit i can think of. In which case if an average American committed the same crime the "expected" fee would be $51.20. That's not even a speeding ticket, that's about a parking ticket level of fine.

Comment: Re:Not All Bad News... (Score 1) 143

That's the long way of putting it, but yes. If the rainfall patterns stay the same as they are now vegetation will continue to grow in those same areas and the carbon will (on average) remain out of circulation. If the rainfall patterns continue to change the new vegetation in the affected areas won't get enough water and will die/not regrow in the new season and the carbon will quickly return to the environment. Like i said, the not so good side of things.

Comment: Not All Bad News... (Score 1) 143

China Helps Reverse Global Forest Loss, With a Little Bit of Luck

According to a recent study the total amount of vegetation in the world has gone up over the last decade. This is mainly due to tree planting efforts in China, changing rainfall patterns allowing more growth in new areas and (probably) the increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The not so good side of things is that the plants aren't taking up all the extra CO2, it's still going up just at a somewhat slower rate, and if rainfall patterns continue to change a lot of that new growth could end up dying off.

+ - Nintendo Announces Smartphone Publishing Deal, New Hardware

Submitted by Daetrin
Daetrin writes: At a press conference yesterday in Japan Nintendo announced a stock-exchange deal with DeNA, which will give Nintendo a 10% interest in the company. DeNA is the owner of Mobage, a mobile gaming platform, and through them Nintendo will be releasing games on Android and iOS devices. It was emphasized that these games would be new games made specifically for the platform rather than ports of existing games.

Nintendo also announced that they are working on new gaming hardware with the codename "NX", which will feature an "entirely new concept." Nintendo did not state if it would be a console, a handheld, some kind of hybrid, or something completely different. Iwata, Nintendo's CEO, did state that the new hardware is unrelated to the collaboration with DeNA and the announcement was intended to emphasize that Nintendo is not abandoning it's core business of dedicated devices.

Engadget has a write-up detailing Nintendo's (non-)history with mobile gaming.

Comment: Re:Heinlien (Score 1) 104

by Daetrin (#49236393) Attached to: Some of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels Are Fix-Ups
Agreed, i'm usually ready to extol the virtues of Heinlein, but fix-up novels are not a thing he did.

As stated, the key elements of "fix-up novel" is that you fix-up something that wasn't a novel, and at the end of it you have a novel. If you just put a bunch of separate short stories together into a book without editing them at all then you've neither done any fixing-up nor ended up with a novel, regardless of whether the stories are all set in the same universe or not.

The _real_ grey area is serials. Some (eventual) novels were written with the intent to be a single story but were serialized in magazines as chapters/short stories. In some cases it's probably hard to tell the difference without knowing what the author was thinking at the time.

Comment: Re:Sometimes this helps, e.g. Beggars in Spain (Score 1) 104

by Daetrin (#49236319) Attached to: Some of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels Are Fix-Ups
I'm confused, because it's really too bad that she never wrote a sequel to Beggars in Spain. And it's _really_ too bad that she never wrote a sequel to that theoretical sequel. I'm sure they would have worked out all their differences and everyone and everything would be happy and wonderful at the end of it!

Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 131

by Daetrin (#49088089) Attached to: Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake
"The program accepts fewer than nine percent of more than 1,200 applicants, which places the acceptance level at about a hundred, so they're bad at math, too."

Does this joke depend on some fact in TFA? (Which i am unable to read at work.) Are they actually supposed to be accepting some number that is significantly higher or lower than 100? As it is that statement stands out as a total non-sequitur.

When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.