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Comment: Re:We should lobby to break the cable companies (Score 1) 535

I think that we should lobby to break the cable(and other incumbent monopolistic ISPs) companies.

Comcast has over 100 lobbyists whose careers revolve around preventing that. They will scale up that spending as needed. And the FCC is practically a case study in how to execute regulatory capture.

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 482

by greg1104 (#49336421) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

It's all operating system cached writes, they're not even getting to the disk's write cache.

Python's file flush() function does not flush data to disk. You have to call os.fsync(f.fileno()) for that.

Same problem with the Java code. flush doesn't make sure data is on disk. You have to use sync or force or something.

This is an excellent way to introduce the smart scientist/moron coder archetype to people though, so it's not completely useless.

Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 1) 491

by greg1104 (#49333015) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

There's minimal evidence that healthy eating alone lowers your long-term body weight. That's part of the point really. Any diet change, be it fad dieting or more sustainable health eating choices, they are all capable of short-term weight loss. Keeping that weight off on the long-term is is a so much harder problem, it's barely related to what works for losing a large amount of weight in the first place.

If you read studies about people who lose and keep weight off, like Long-term weight loss maintenance, the common factors that always show up are both very low calorie counts and constant feedback. Basically, chart your weight all the time, and cut your calories if it ever goes up. That is brutally difficult to sustain for years at a time. If you follow any sort of hunger-driven diet, with healthy foods or not, you will probably go back to whatever weight your body likes over time. That's how hunger works.

Comment: Re:I'm probably missing something (Score 1) 416

by Eric Green (#49332239) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

The Central Valley of California is sitting on rich topsoil over 100 feet deep. Before the modern water projects, it mostly grew winter wheat, because there's enough moisture in winter (the rainy season in California) for that in most years. The Central Valley is technically a Mediterranean climate, not a desert (though the southern part of the Valley is technically semi-desert). But the water projects made it profitable and possible to grow crops year-round rather than just in the winter, mining that 100 feet of topsoil for food. Telling people they can't mine a resource like that doesn't go down well with Americans, who tend to be an ornery sort.

Comment: More expensive water can mean more water usage (Score 1) 416

by Eric Green (#49332111) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

An example is almonds. Almonds now use close to 10% of water used in California. One almond takes approximately 1.1 gallons of water to create it.

So: Why, in the midst of drought, are California farmers planting *more* almonds? The answer, paradoxically, is because water has become more expensive. The water projects are not delivering water to California farmers, so California farmers have a choice between a) not growing crops (and thereby losing their farm, since no crops means they can't pay the mortgages they took out on their farm equipment and/or farmland to expand in earlier more optimistic times), or b) drilling wells. Drilling wells that in some cases are a thousand feet or more deep. The water from these wells is ridiculously expensive for two reasons: 1) the simple cost of drilling, and 2) the large amount of electricity needed to haul that water (at 8 pounds per gallon) up that 1,000+ feet of pipe to the surface.

In fact, the water from these wells is so expensive that if the farmers used it to grow a low-water-use crop like wheat they'd lose money. Most low-water-use crops like wheat or corn have a relatively low price on the commodities market, a price that will not pay for the cost of the well and the electricity to pump water out of the well. So, paradoxically, expensive water has caused farmers to instead grow almonds -- one of the only crops that sell for a higher price than the cost of the water needed to grow them, yet also one of the most water-thirsty crops on the planet.

And now you know the side of the story you don't get from the Libertarian free market think tanks and their notion that expensive water would cause water usage by farmers to decline. What matters to farmers is *not* the absolute cost of the water. What matters to the farmers is the *marginal* cost of the water -- the difference between what it costs to obtain the water, and what income they get from using the water. When water was cheap but in limited supply, farmers grew crops that were water-thrifty because the price of those commodities was enough to pay for the water. Now that water is expensive but they can pump as much as they wish from the ground (until the aquifer runs dry, anyhow!), the California farmer's slogan becomes "drill, baybee, drill!" and the almond trees go in.

Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 1) 165

by greg1104 (#49324997) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

That grass-roots FLOSS development only happened after the GPL does not mean it was necessary to create it, nor even caused directly by it. Giving away free software to promote consulting and support revenue can be a profit center independently of other motives. I can easily imagine an alternate 2015 where there was no Stallman, so instead consulting companies shared boring infrastructure code to split its development costs.

Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 1) 165

by greg1104 (#49324941) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

Good old dictionary.com says paranoia is baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others. There are a few examples where I think Stallman is excessively paranoid. I personally like using the web only over e-mail to avoid "survellance". Wander that deep down the rabbit hole, and the all powerful three letter agencies out to get you will also have secret exploits for Lynx. Seriously, it's all in the Snowden documents! And I totally did remember to take my medication!

However, there are way less examples that seem extreme like that today then there used to be. Re-writing your hard drive firmware with secret monitoring tools? In 2015 evidence that might be happening is reasonable news, not paranoia.

I've seen plenty of examples of companies who do not want to share code unless compelled to. There are software compliance tools for lawyers whose main purpose is checking corporate source code repos to make sure there's no GPL code. But the number of corporate contributors to all the BSD distributions says the GPL is not mandatory to develop open code. Did it help? Sure. I think open source software as a way to share overhead on boring infrastructure code was inevitable though, even if there was no "free software" (tm).

Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 1) 165

by greg1104 (#49323509) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

The world could have collaborated and built the modern Internet just fine on BSD licensed software, which is itself a variation of public domain. What Stallman deserves credit for is inventing the Copyleft license as a way to compel source code sharing. He's stayed relevant beyond that as source for paranoia about software being used against people, a stance that looks more prescient each year.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990