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Comment: Re:I feel proud as an American! (Score 0) 478

I'm not an American but I think becoming an American is a bit like becoming a Muslim - there's no way out other than in a body bag.

So if since you are an American I'd keep the true faith ... abhor, detest and abjure, as impious and heretical [traitors like Snowden] if I were you. That buzz in the sky above you could be a Predator drone.

Comment: Re:Android to iDevice (Score 1) 344

by Solandri (#49791215) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier
TFA is standard pro-Apple hit piece reasoning. First they trumpet that Apple has the biggest market share (for touchscreen smartphones, for tablets, etc). When Apple loses that, they trumpet that Apple has the biggest revenue in that market. When Apple loses that, they fall back on trumpeting that Apple has the biggest share of profit. All the time making it sound like Apple is the one which is winning when by most measures Apple is in fact losing (Google Play store revenue passed iOS App store revenue last year). Q42015 financials were also skewed in Apple's favor because their latest phones were released just before, while no major Android phones were relased

As for profits, Android smartphones had $2.4 billion in profits on 205.6 million phones shipped during 4Q2014 . That's $11.67 profit per device, which if you figure an average Android phone costs $300 is just under 4% margin. The PC industry operates on pretty much a 3%-5% margin (aside from Apple - theirs is usually close to 25%). HP's margin was 5%. Lenovo's margin was 1.8%. Dell was usually around 5% before it went private.

Basically, Android's profits are completely normal for a consumer electronic device made of commodity parts. The only thing that's noteworthy is Apple's weirdly distorted finances, where their marketing and cachet allows them to sell the same commodity parts at huge markups. Another way to look at this is that Apple made $18.8 billion profit on 74.5 million phones in 4Q2014. If you bought an iPhone last quarter, your Apple Tax was $252.

Comment: Re:suckers (Score 0) 129

by demonlapin (#49787959) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion
It's not the industry that provides the product. The entire global economy is dependent on energy inputs, which we have been able to exploit most efficiently since the Industrial Revolution, when we began to be able to use energy sources other than people and animals. CFC's were nasty chemicals, but they weren't generally crucial to modern life.

I'm not in love with the fossil fuel industry, but for all their problems it's also dangerous to assume that installing wind farms on every decent hillside won't have climatic effects. Go nuclear or give up.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 158

by Solandri (#49784873) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will Technology Disrupt the Song?

Corporations will continue to make boatloads of money, artists will continue to sell their work for a song.

That's what I don't get. We already have the infrastructure in place for artists to "make it" on their own - no record label company needed. A friend of mine put a few of her self-produced educational videos on YouTube hoping for some publicity - maybe someone at a TV station would see them and pick up the series or offer her a job. Instead, the videos grew insanely popular among parents. The YouTube revenue was more than enough to fund production of the video series she'd been hoping a TV studio would bankroll. And now she's one of YouTube's biggest producers. Her YouTube revenue exceeds her (lawyer) husband's income, and he's taking more and more time off his law practice to help with her video and website production.

But so many aspiring musicians seem to think the only way to succeed is the "traditional" way - sell their soul to a record label who will take 90% of what they earn, and charge them another 8% as production expenses. Organic publicity on YouTube and social media is free (assuming people actually like what you produce). Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play take a 30% cut, which while I still think is excessive is a helluva lot better than the 95+% a record label will take. The only hold the record labels still have is on radio, which is declining in popularity. The record labels are this generation's buggy whip manufacturers - don't chain yourself to them. The Internet removed one of the biggest impediments to publicizing virtual media like music - production and distribution. Take advantage of it if you're an aspiring musician (or video producer).

Comment: Re:Would YOU want a camera on you all day? (Score 1) 293

by Solandri (#49777855) Attached to: Amtrak Installing Cameras To Watch Train Engineers
I am for having a camera on the train engineer. But the engineers' union stance is a bit more nuanced than just privacy concerns. I don't think they give a damn whether the engineer picks his nose. Their concern is more to do with how people react under stressful situations when snap decisions are required. Knowing that your every move is being recorded and will be intensely scrutinized after the fact can alter those decisions.

The best recent example is probably the Fukushima nuclear plant. The manager had it within his power to dump seawater into the reactor early on, and avert what would eventually become only the second INES level 7 emergency in history. But dumping in seawater would've destroyed the billion dollar reactor - an act which was sure to invite intense scrutiny into his decision from company and regulatory officials. He was so afraid of making a bad decision, that he ended up making no decision. He instead chose to believe the signs that the reactor fuel rods were not melting down, thus requiring him not to make that fateful decision. Until it was obvious they had melted, and it was too late for the seawater option.

I often what would've happened if he had decided to dump in seawater in time. It's doubtful he would've been hailed as a hero as we know in hindslight. There would have been no melted fuel rods, no radiation released. Instead the spectre of a catastrophe would've only been a probability-based best guess. Contrast that with the certainty that he'd destroyed a billion dollar reactor. In all likelihood he would he have been disciplined or fired by TEPCO for making a "rash" decision which cost the company a billion dollars.

Comment: Re:Time for a change? (Score 1) 233

by demonlapin (#49777621) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School
If you've never heard education talk during elections, I can only assume that you aren't listening much. No Child Left Behind? Common Core? These are big news items all the time.

Conspiracy aside, there is little reason to expect major educational improvements to be possible. You get huge benefits from teaching literacy and basic arithmetic, and almost everyone is intelligent enough to do them, at least at some level. By the time you hit the level of a rigorous high school, though, you have either abandoned standards or winnowed heavily. Most people can't do calculus. This doesn't make them worth less as human beings; it just means that trying to teach them calculus is a waste of your time and theirs. All you accomplish with more years of "schooling" is warehousing.

All constants are variables.