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Comment: Re:ESPN (Score 1) 401

by Entropius (#47461935) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

They also oversharpen the shit out of it.

The worst is grass, where the blades are close to the limiting resolution. The compression algorithm can't decide whether it's worth it or not to capture the detail in the grass blades, so you either get a smeary mess or holy shit oversharpened artifacts.

Comment: Re:We're sorry he so faithfully followed instructi (Score 1) 401

by Entropius (#47461885) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

Sure, but when I say that my reason for cancellation is I'M MOVING OUT, stop hounding me.

Also, when I call to inquire at my new residence, telling me that your downstream speed is 25 megabytes/sec is a good way to make me ask "Ma'am, do you mean megabytes, or megabits?"

An answer of "Oh, we mean megabytes! Our competition measures their speeds in megabits but we have megabytes, which are eight times as much!" won't inspire confidence.

Comment: Re:Actually makes good sense (Score 1) 702

by Entropius (#47398599) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

I thought that's what those x-ray machines were for?

Besides, there is a lot of empty space inside some laptops. If they're worried about someone putting a bomb inside a laptop that won't boot then they should be equally worried about someone putting one inside a laptop that will.

Comment: New Yorkers are weird... (Score 5, Interesting) 532

by Entropius (#47330277) Attached to: NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

I'm in NYC right now, visiting for a physics conference.

To an outsider, New Yorkers seem uniquely willing to deal with (and, when in charge, impose) authoritarian rules that people from elsewhere would chafe at. Don't do this; do this; everything in New York seems over-regulated. It's not just from the government; it's everywhere. I'm staying in a dormitory at Columbia University, and the rules on how guest passes work are quite asinine. The plenary talks at the conference have free bottled water and coffee provided (the conference organizers have paid Columbia's chosen caterer for this already), but bring in any of your own water bottles and it's a $1000 (!) fine. [This is different from the standard "no outside food" rule at restaurants, since they want you to buy their stuff; in this case the catering is all already paid for.]

I was also fortunate enough to get to perform in Carnegie Hall a few months ago with a choir I sing with. During our rehearsal, the conductor wanted her podium moved a few inches to get out of the way of a troupe of dancers sharing the stage. She wasn't allowed to move this simple block of wood three inches; someone had to go get a union stagehand, since it was made very clear to us: the union stagehands, by the terms of their contract, are the only ones allowed to touch anything, including things as mundane as music stands.

For whatever reason, New York is full of rules. Maybe some of them are necessary to keep eight million people crammed into this sardine can from hurting each other, but this has so conditioned the people here to obey unnecessary rules that people go along with it.

Comment: Re:Major source of corruption is Tax Code not PACs (Score 4, Insightful) 209

by Entropius (#47284047) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Endorses Lessig's Mayday Super PAC

So what you're saying is that it's unfair to accomplish what you consider to be proper policy objectives of taxation using a tax code with one free parameter.

Fine, then. Make it two free parameters: a common one is "your tax is X% of your income minus Y". The point is that every free parameter in the tax code is an opportunity for corruption, and currently we have about eleventy billion.

You write:

A true progressive tax, at realistic rates and without any built in "favors" is what is needed.

The problem is that so long as politicians are able to build in favors, they will. If you rely on the honor of politicians to prevent corruption you're doomed.

If you have the X%+Y tax system outlined above, there are no special favors; for a given revenue level there is in fact only one degree of freedom, and then it's just the standard rich-vs-poor fight, which is far less vulnerable to capture by special interests than our current behemoth.

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