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Comment The correct application of monopoly theory (Score 1) 359

when you have practical monopolies created when a small group of people own everything.

Now you're changing the topic, which was how consumers should be able to vote with their dollars if a retailer doesn't provide good value, and citizens are better off if they're free to move to a different jurisdiction that has a better tax-to-benefits ratio than their current jurisdiction. And a business should be free to do the same. (If a business is gouged by any entity, including its government, it's bad for the little guy, because businesses always pass those costs on to their customers.)

But a consumer can't vote with their dollars if the retailer has a monopoly. And a business can't relocate if its current jurisdiction effectively has a monopoly on where that business is permitted to operate (perhaps because someone is threatening to slap a 50% tariff on its products, and/or steal its patents, if said business relocates).

So you see, when discussing the relocation of Pfizer, it's particularly incorrect to talk of monopoly. There were 193 countries, competing with various levels of effort, to get Pfizer to operate there -- the furthest thing imaginable from a monopoly. Ireland won this round, and the U.S. lost. There is a valuable lesson to be learned there, for those willing to learn it.

made by one of the Koch Brothers

Sorry, I don't buy into the fearmongering of making the Koch brothers into bogeymen. I saw an interview of Charles Koch; quite a pleasant gentleman. But apparently lots of slashdotters do buy into that fearmongering, because you got another +5 post. That's scary.

You're comparing the decision making processes of buying a twinkie to the process of buying a heart transplant.

No, I really didn't do that. The scope of my post was strictly limited to how monopolies that gouge consumers are bad, and monopolies that gouge businesses -- to include a government that doesn't allow businesses to relocate -- are also bad.

Comment The myth of the "Race to the Bottom" (Score 0) 359

If consumers are free to make choices, retailers must keep their prices reasonably low in order to keep customers from fleeing to the competition.

That's a good thing.

You may not like to hear it, but this is also a good thing:

If businesses are free to make choices about where they will operate, governments must also keep their tax rates reasonably low in order to keep businesses from fleeing to other jurisdictions.

What do you do when tax rates become negative, you ask? That would be analogous to a retailer that permanently operates on negative profit margins. Funny, when my local gas stations compete with each other on price -- which is to say, always -- they never engage in such a "race to the bottom."

Comment Yes, bandwidth is a finite resource. (Score 1) 622

we're not talking about a resource. There is not finite supply of water pouring into your house. We're talking about bandwidth.

Yes, bandwidth is a finite resource.

Telcos started running fiber when the bandwidth of copper became inadequate. They started running more fiber when the first strand was used to capacity. Look how many undersea cables run between New York and the UK:

Why so many? Because just one won't handle the traffic. Bandwidth is a finite resource.

Comment Just charge me a reasonable per-gigabyte rate (Score 1) 622

Then factor in if your usage isn't predictable and can swing by 50% or more each month you then start talking about wasted money (paying for a big enough plan to cover your "bad months") or are getting screwed by the overages on the months you run high.

Right. That's why I'd like a reasonable per-gigabyte rate. In a month where I use 14 GB, I don't mind paying twice as much as in a month where I use 7 GB, as long as the per-GB rate is reasonable.

Basically, that's the same "plan" I have for paying for gasoline, strawberries, etc.

Comment Re:It's provable that a government is not required (Score 1) 342

Just because something is unprofitable does not mean that it should not be built.

Yes, in most cases, that's exactly what it means. If it's unprofitable, it will have to be subsidized. The perfect example for the subject at hand is Amtrak. The "overall economic benefits" are miniscule compared to the billions in subsidies Amtrak has blown through. Here's just one of many examples of how it's mismanaged:

Why was Amtrak created in the first place? Purely as a pander to two very special interest groups:
1) Politically-connected railworker unions, and
2) Those who wrung their hands about "it's a crying shame what's happened to our railroads... do something to bring back the good old days!" (Not comprehending that there are reasons travelers voted with their dollars and actions such that passenger rail service became unprofitable.)

Please don't double down on the huge mistake that was Amtrak.

Comment It's provable that a government is not required. (Score 1) 342

a government is required to divert funds towards projects that the private sector would not have built.

Just one problem with your argument. There are hundreds of historical examples of the private sector building railroads. In fact, the private sector was so eager to build railroads that the network was overbuilt; it exceeded demand and a significant fraction of the privately-built railroads entered bankruptcy.

We need to achieve the proper balance between a 19th-century free-for-all, and the current regulatory environment that kills any private initiatives into more modern forms of transportation. When that's accomplished, any route capable of profitable operation would be built. And any route not capable of profitable operation, of course, should not be built.

Comment A reason to beware (Score 1) 275

The invasion scenario is ridiculous.

Sure, they need nothing from us; but being much more highly evolved than humans, perhaps they find us revolting and/or hideous. Some humans, who are much more technologically advanced than spiders, will cheerfully spray a can of Raid to exterminate a nest of harmless spiders.

Until that scenario can be ruled out, beware.

Comment Re:Same reason we're looking for earth-like life (Score 1) 275

messages transmitted across an SQ gap of 10 points or more cannot be very meaningful.

Let's not sell ourselves short. We're capable of transmitting, say, the entire contents of Wikipedia, and that's a much bigger accomplishment than the bleating of a sheep. While a Superbeing may not be interested in receiving that transmission, it's still pretty impressive.

Comment Re:Another possibility (Score 1) 622

we usually perform experiments to learn something where we don't know the outcome. But God is omniscient

From the available evidence, I've concluded that God is likely not omniscient about future events.

It doesn't make sense that you ascribe the property of omniscience, with such certainty, to an entity that you don't even believe exists. Therefore, your lengthy post is fundamentally flawed nearly from the beginning.

then he could sit there blaming the lifeforms that emerge for being precisely what the dice he used plus the ruleset he used produced

So you believe we don't have free will; that we're merely biological billiard balls, inevitably careening down whatever path was determined by the Initial Conditions? That's depressing and demotivating.

More later, perhaps.

Comment Destiny of human remains (Score 1) 622

If our decomposed remains remain on Earth, they'll be vaporized when the sun becomes a red giant.

As far as I know, that prediction is compatible with all religions.

I choose to believe that my atoms will return and be the substance known as stars eventually.

That long-term view is a more pleasant way to put it than the short-term outlook some atheists state: "We're going to be nothing more than food for worms."

Comment Another possibility (Score 1) 622


* Jesus is God, but is evil...
* Jesus is God, but is not all powerful...
* Jesus existed but was just a man...
* Jesus is a syncretic myth...

There are some possibilities that you missed. This one, for example:

* God is a good experimentalist, and like all good experimentalists, he rarely intervenes with the way things play out in his creation/experimental system. He sits back and passively observes, for hundreds or thousands of years at a time, and Jesus is the product of "Ok, I'm tired of the dynamic that the most intelligent carbon units have gotten into; let's see what happens if I have one of them teach some ethical principles to the others."

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!