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Comment: No Poland-like outcome possible (Score 1) 538

by GPS Pilot (#47883755) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

One problem with your reasoning. Polish leaders very heartily embraced the West and NATO membership. In Cuba, on the other hand, the Castro brothers managed to hang on to power despite the economic crisis caused by the disappearance of theirr USSR sugar-daddy. If Cuba's economy had gotten a boost from the USA, the Castros would have used the additional revenue to further solidify their grip on power. I don't see a path to obtaining a Poland-like outcome, and you sure haven't pointed out such a path.

Comment: How about sharing legitimate advice? (Score 1) 151

by GPS Pilot (#47883513) Attached to: To prepare for a coronal mass ejection, I ...

Instead of a whimsical poll, I wish slashdotters would be sharing legitimate advice about how to protect devices from EMP (either natural or man-made).

For example, if I store a hard drive or other sensitive device in a safe, can any old safe protect it, or does it have to be a safe specially designed to offer EMP protection?

Comment: Thinking outside the box yields a better solution (Score 1) 708

by GPS Pilot (#47770807) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

A lot of people are completely against this idea (government intrusion on freedom, etc.) but that's the only way we've ever solved problems based on the "tragedy of the commons"

Really... government coercion the only way? No one voluntarily shares their assets for the benefit of the greater good? The facts say otherwise:

"Total giving to charitable organizations was $335.17 billion in 2013 (about 2% of GDP). This is an increase of 4.4% from 2012. Although this is the fourth straight year that giving has increased, it is still not at the pre-recession level of $349.5 billion seen in 2007."

Charitable giving increases as a person's disposable income increases -- and not linearly, either: as income grows to exceed a person's basic needs, people tend to increase the percentage of income given to charity. That's why a 10x increase in GDP would result in greater than a 10x increase in charitable giving.

So if we just resume pursuing pro-growth policies for a few more decades, private charity will be more than capable of providing the entire social safety net -- bigger and better than our current social safety net -- and government will be able to streamline itself and stop performing that function. (Which will be a quite virtuous circle that has further benefits for the economy.) There is also quite a bit of value in the fact that it will be 100% funded by voluntary contributions, and 0% by coercive confiscation.

When philanthropists perceive that the social safety net is well-funded, they will shift a portion of their giving to other charitable purposes of their choosing: for example, subsidizing clean energy projects.

Remember, pursuing pro-growth policies is the key to realizing this rosy future. That means growth we come by honestly, as opposed to short-term growth that is forced by unsustainable, house-of-cards measures -- like deficit spending, or the Fed holding interest rates artificially low.

Comment: If we let the free market sort it out... (Score 1) 531

If we let the free market sort it out, no doubt Consumer Reports will print an article revealing which ISPs deliver Netflix content at good speeds, and which ISPs deliver Netflix content at lousy speeds. It's no different than when Consumer Reports prints an article revealing which detergents do a good job of getting grass stains out of your clothes, and which detergents do a lousy job.

Are you arguing for a "Detergent Neutrality Act" that would force all makers of laundry detergent to offer equally-effective products?

Comment: Bulk discounts will suddenly disappear? (Score 1) 531

Should netflix pay premium for every mb because they're a "high bandwidth user"

In every other industry, heavy users get a bulk discount for commodities: The Sara Lee bakery pays a lot less per pound for flour than I do. The bauxite-smelting plant pays a lot less per kilowatt-hour for electricity than I do.

Why are you so worried that bandwidth providers will go against their own self-interest and set up a pricing structure that's completely different from every other industry? Why aren't you also fighting for "flour neutrality" and "electricity neutrality"?

Comment: Choices, please (Score 1) 531

Do you think those that pay for the supersonic speed should be shuttled to the Grayhound station for certain destinations

How about allowing consumers to choose, instead of imposing regulations that may not benefit me in any way?

Simplified hypothetical example:

Mega-ISP offers three tiers of service:
1. 7 Mbps to all destinations - $30 per month
2. 40 Mbps to all destinations web services, with some exceptions: you get 7 Mpbs when visiting,, and - $50 per month
3. 40 Mbps to all destinations, period -- $60 per month

If a fast connection to is important to me, I'd probably choose Tier 3. If not, I'd choose Tier 2 and save $120 per year. Let ME have that choice.

I can see how this will go down... "No matter how we reform the 'net, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your internet plan, you will be able to keep your internet plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Comment: Bring on the toll roads (Score 1) 531

After reading this, please let me know what would be so awful about 100% toll roads.

All roads are already toll roads, in that their maintenance is paid for by gas taxes. What would be so awful about that money going to an efficient enterprise, as opposed to an inefficient bureaucracy?

Comment: Paying by the MB (Score 1) 531

Without it you get toll roads everywhere, and you constantly have to pay by the mile, or bit the MB

We've been paying for roads by the mile for decades, via gas taxes -- an effective way of making people who drive more, pay more.

Do you feel that all electricity users should pay the same cost, regardless of whether they wastefully use many kilowatt-hours, or frugally use few kilowatt-hours? I'm guessing no. So why impose a completely different price structure for bandwidth (which is a finite resource, just like electricity)? Why penalize grandma for her thrifty usage pattern (she receives a few emails per week and never surfs the web), by charging her as much as someone who downloads movies several times per week?

Comment: I'm confused (Score 2) 421

by GPS Pilot (#47750037) Attached to: South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

Are you against arresting kids for writing the word "gun"? I have to wonder because Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh regularly rail against schools' substituting zero-tolerance policies for the use of common sense. The arrest of young Mr. Stone is anything but a reason to rail against Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh.

Invest in physics -- own a piece of Dirac!