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Comment Re:Gas (Score 1) 59

Troll or idiot?

I'm going to pretend idiot and answer you:
The real need for hybrids is not because of high gas prices, that's only the enabler. The need is to reduce the rate at which CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. When the technology is more perfected hybrids will be replaced by electrics, and electrical production plants will be phased over to ... I want to say non-polluting, but that's a lie. Lower polluting plants. Like wind, solar, and possibly even nuclear or fusion. Wind and solar still need better storage and distribution to be practical on a large scale, fission has numerous problems dealing with waste, safety, etc., and fusion isn't here yet. So a slow changeover seems necessary. But we need to have started the process much more vigorously than we have, and we need to have pushed research harder than we did. (Yes, research becomes less efficient when you push it harder, but you still get results faster, if you do it right.)

Currently the people who champion any one particular source of power as "The Answer" are blind to the faults of that source. They all currently have unacceptable drawbacks. But some of the drawbacks could be handled with significant investment (wind and solar). All could benefit from increased research results.

P.S.: I'd say that fission suffers from too much government regulation, but then I recall that they wouldn't build the existing plants without the government indemnifying them against liability in case of problems. If the builders don't think the plant is safe enough to build, why should I disagree?

Comment Re:Why many people have no respect for copyright l (Score 1) 167

You are assuming what the original purpose of the copyright law was. There is evidence to suggest that it was always about allowing an elite to control the distribution of works for financial gain...and by elite I do not mean the authors. I'd say media companies, but that would create an improper impression, as originally the works were all printed. (Well, there were also laws about what the bards were allowed to sing, different in different countries and times, but that was not usually for financial gain.)

Comment Re:Damn government censors again! (Score 1) 167

This particular case is not about censorship. "The Diary of Anne Frank" is readily available if you buy it. This particular case is about money.

That said, this law, and other similar laws, are enablers of censorship. Any law that allows someone other than the author to withhold public availability of a work is an enabler of censorship.

THAT said, this is not an argument either for or against this particular law. I've made that in other places. This is an argument in favor of thinking clearly about what one is favoring or opposed to.

Comment Re:Hogwash because of time value of money (Score 1) 167

There are exceptions. I think Tolkien was one. But you are generally correct. However extended copyrights allow for derivative works to have considerably broader protection than if the copyright were not extended. Consider any series of books by an author...especially those by "house names", e.g. the Tom Swift series. They've now faded into irrelevance, but the "house name" that wrote the series was allowed to keep the entire cast of characters and environment under copyright for considerably over 20 years. Or the E.E.Smith Lensman series. They got started in the 1930's, I think, and continued up into the 1950's.

Please note that this has both its good and bad points. It allows the copyright holder to maintain the "purity" of the series...which has both good and bad aspects. Consider the problems of doing a "shared worlds" series where not everyone has even read the background notes.

So there is value in extended copyrights...but not enough. And the downsides can be quite obnoxious.

Comment Re:Why not overseas .... (Score 1) 154

I agree with a lot of your points, but I've encountered many managers that you wouldn't consider "good managers".

And WRT your final paragraph...automation is going to make a job based economy a guarantee that nearly everyone is at the very bottom rung. We are already at the point where the US and India are BOTH losing jobs to increased automation, and we are still in the early days. Projections call for over half of the existing jobs to disappear within around a decade. And I don't think anyone can predict which ones will be safe. (Except upper management, and that's because they are the ones making the decisions.) As this continues it will become more and more evident that it's foolish to take on a large debt with the intention of paying it off after entering a profitable career. It isn't clear to me what is going to motivate people to study for years. (Well, I would have done it because I was fascinated by math and physics, but mine is a minority perspective, and I would have studied, albeit in a less directed and intense way, even if college had been impossible.

I agree that trade has in the past acted to suppress war. I'm not sure it's working that way in the present. Certainly simple economic arguments don't apply. The US spent more to invade Iran than the entire wealth of the country would have represented if we'd carted it off, and we didn't bother. It was politics extremely much more than economics. (I've heard it asserted that the reason for the war was that Iran started negotiating to sell oil denominated in Euros rather than Dollars. I know of no evidence either pro or con, but it's the most reasonable reason I've heard, if it's true. And since all the other reasons seem utter garbage, I tend to believe it.)

The argument that trade suppresses war has it's shining examples, but there are also many cases where it appears that war is engaged in to control trade.

Now, "Our real problem isn't that China makes t-shirts": That's not clear, or perhaps not exact to the point I was asserting. T-shirts was an example of an industry that isn't inherently centralized. Another such industry is software construction, but notice that due to the laws, customs, and business regulations of the US most software development (for profit) *IS* centralized. How things could be changed is not a subject on which I am competent to speak, but I am competent to observe the pattern. My suspicion is that this has to do with the distribution system. I have heard that to get notable promotion by or positioning within a store, you need to ... compensate ... the store owner. I used compensate where I would have liked to say bribe. I feel the process should be as illegal as other sorts of kickback, and the laws against all forms of kickback should be more rigorously enforced. Even the existing laws against bundling are either not enforced, or need to be considerably stronger.

But these are details. There are nearly endless details, it's the summation of them that tends to encourage the formation of large organizations with centralized control, not any particular one. (An exception might be the wretched and unjust Citizens United decision...though I might go back to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 US 394 (1886) and find that it, and all decisions based upon it were likewise unjust. [Or perhaps the original decision was just, but the way that it was phrased made it unjust.])

Comment Re:Not only am I bothred by the phone-home, (Score 1) 259

MS may have been explicity about their purposes, but saying that they've been clear about their intentions requires that you believe them. And even if that's true, what their intentions are this week doesn't speak to what their intentions will be next year.

So the question is "What personal information could the current system by coerced to reveal (without additional software 'upgrades')?". I must admit that I don't find the answer clear. The ZDNet article wasn't all that reassuring.

OTOH, as I do not have or use any MSWind installs, this is sort of academic. Many third parties are already so lax about their security that I should presume that any information about me they hold will be clandestinely copied. Just consider the recent story about pins being "stolen" from the IRS.

P.S.: Stolen is a very poor term for the process, as the original is (presumably) left in place. OTOH, "clandestinely copied" is too long and clumsy. What's needed is something short and pithy that falls easily off the tongue like, e.g., "snarfed". You are free to use my suggestion if you want to, but you'll need to use context to make your meaning clear until it enters common usage.

Comment Re:Not only am I bothred by the phone-home, (Score 1) 259

How about "both guys are basically right, but only telling a part of the story"?

Similarly for linux, some window managers (I think it's the window managers) seem to check for updates. I may have told them to, since if I were asked I would have asked that they do so. Others don't (or didn't a year ago). And I've never had a linux machine fail when disconnected from the desktop, but you could certainly state that "some of the functionality was broken". Guess what I mean. Then read the next paragraph.



When disconnected from the internet NTP doesn't properly reset the system clock for drifting. But if I didn't mention WHAT functionality was broken, you might fill in something rather different.

Comment Re:VCs who miss the point of open source... (Score 1) 93

You overstate a basically correct position. The VC is not in business for your health or profit, and you can't trust a word they say, or an item of the contract that isn't readily enforceable. But there are times when it's still the appropriate option. But only AFTER you've published the current version under an irrevocable license...something that guarantees you future access without worries about either copyright or patents. The GPL is my favorite, but for many purposes BSD works as well or better. Also consider the MIT license. But publish this publicly before you sign the contract, and make certain that they have acknowledged the prior publication in a verifiable way. An attachment to the contract is probably best, but this is just my guess. A url to a github repository might suffice. Talk to a lawyer.

Comment Re:it would kill online banking and shopping (Score 1) 154

You not using a credit card doesn't keep your bank from transmitting weakly encrypted data. I've been told (by a counter clerk, so she may not have known) that they have a separate network from the Internet. So perhaps this is less of a problem than it appears. But I recall hearing of an isolated nuclear power plant that got infected by a virus because a contractor was plugged into two networks at once.

I already refuse to bank on-line, because of multiple past security issues. This would just mean that I would need to only buy things on-line with a purchased credit card...and never use one tied into my account. (I already have a separated account that I use for ALL credit card transactions.)

So there are ways and ways for individuals to get around exposing themselves. But there's no way for them to avoid having third parties expose them.

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