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Comment: Re:Leaders (Score 0) 104

If they don't know what they are doing, then why are they the leaders?

Because they have access to the biggest club. They claim Earth's resources as their own, and can back that claim with (outsourced) violence, so everyone else either obeys or starves. Actual competence in using those resources is irrelevant.

Besides, it's not like they're actually in charge - market logic or the "Invisible Hand" is. They have some leeway in interpreting its will, and particularly competent ones can sometimes even suggest a course of action, but ultimately they are just pampered slaves.

An executive's job is a purely ritualistic one: they're posing for the public while interpreting orders from high. The only real difference between them and, say, an Aztec high priest is that the Invisible Hand wants its victims starved rather than TempleofDoomed, which is less messy. Well, currently they victims are mostly just made destitute rather than outright killed, but born-again InvisibleHanders are working hard to change that.

Of course, the real problem with this scenario is that the Invisible Hand is not self-aware and can't think ahead, so the end result is that no one is in charge. Explains a lot, eh?

Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Re:Sure, let's make everything tiered (Score 1) 376

The reporting on this is very muddled, but at least one article says that the car was not in "self-parking" mode, so the pedestrian detection would not have been active even if this car had it.

So does this mean Volvo sells a configuration that 1) has a computer control the car in small, enclosed spaces and 2) doesn't hae said computer look for obstacles, and specifically not humans?

Comment: Context (Score 3, Informative) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 201

by ultranova (#49775209) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

If licenses weren't numbered, the proliferation of taxis would render city streets unnavigable.

...Taxis carrying who? The same people who are now using their own cars? Why would that make things any worse? If anything, they should get better when more drivers are professionals.

That said, if the license system is abolished, then the government should reimburse the current license holders. After all, having had to pay for a license when newcomers don't puts them at an unfair competitive disadvantage due to opportunity costs.

Comment: Re:To be more precise, Amazon will collect on taxe (Score 1) 241

by ultranova (#49774847) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Spoken just like someone who doesn't actually have to deal with that situation...

Okay, time for the facts of life: I, who work for a living, pay taxes too. For all intents and purposes that's an investment of time and effort, rather than money. So what happens if I'm not satisfied with my level of return and choose to cease investing - that is, quit? Why, I don't get paid, of course.

Perhaps you've never had to deal with that situation. Good for you. But don't except those who do to have much sympathy for your plight.

Comment: Re:did they damage the car? (Score 5, Insightful) 454

by ultranova (#49772385) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

Don't attribute to malice that which can be blamed on stupidity.

The problem is, stupidity is sufficient. The police don't need to be actively malicious if their institutional culture - "the brainwashing they've been given" - constantly prompts them to perform unfair and destructive actions.

Also, you're wrong. "Naturally enough, when they realized they fucked up they looked around for a way to cover their ass and saw the guy had a revoked license." Yes, it's perfectly natural to sacrifice a bystander to save your own skin. It's also not something you can blame on stupidity. It's deliberate, selfish cowardice.

Comment: Re:Spin everywhere... (Score 1) 154

by ultranova (#49772349) Attached to: EU Drops Plans For Safer Pesticides After Pressure From US

As you say, the Guardian wants us to believe that the chemical industry is some cigar-smoking shades-wearing embodiment of corporate evil here, which is unlikely.

Of course not. It's a "nothing personal, just good business" embodiment of corporate evil. Someone wants a bonus and is somehow able to convince himself the resuls of the means used to get it aren't really his fault. Just like every other group of monsters in human history managed to convince themselves that their ends justified their means. The only difference is that corporate ends tend to be pettier.

It seems to be more like a dispute over the costs and benefits of enacting a ban before harm is conclusively established.

It's a matter of a few people getting all the benefits and everyone sharing costs - a known failure mode of capitalism. Or "success mode" if all you care about is maximizing profits or economic indicators.

Comment: Re:Just wait, Islam will lead us to another one (Score 0) 55

by ultranova (#49763709) Attached to: Universe's Dark Ages May Not Be Invisible After All

Banning Mosques is cultural self-defense.

You mean cultural suicide. After all, it violates the freedom of religion, which is absolutely vital for the marketplace of ideas to exist. That marketplace is the essence of Western Culture, underlaying every currently reigning local ideas.

The only thing mosques do is give the local populace a chance to copy whatever good ideas Islam might have, and of course the other way around. And the only ones it threatens are those who are on top in current status quo and wish it to remain.

Comment: Re:To be more precise, Amazon will collect on taxe (Score 1) 241

by ultranova (#49763423) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Raise the tax rate to 75% of the corporate profit and see what happens...

Companies will reinvest revenue rather than pay it out as dividends. Also, stock prices fall as future expected dividends are cut by 75%, and then rise again as said reinvestment makes economy grow faster.

Actually, this could be just the stimulus economy needs...

Comment: Re:To be more precise, Amazon will collect on taxe (Score 1) 241

by ultranova (#49763375) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

The only way to do that is raise prices.

If you can make more profit by rising prices, why haven't you done so already?

If I am unable to raise prices that far, then I'll invest the $10 million of capital somewhere else.

"Somewhere else" is taxed too, so it'll do you no good. You'll simply have to settle for a level of profit the market can offer, the same as everyone else. Of course, you could sit on your $10 million and let inflation eat it away.

If my current profit is $1 million and you now say it will be only $100K due to new taxes, then either my prices have to go way up, or the product/service won't be offered.

In the latter case your profit will be negative due to inflation. $100K is the best option you have. And, should you decide to pass as a protest or whatever, that's okay too, your competitors will gladly expand their market.

Comment: Re:Mark Zuckerburg (Score 1) 122

by ultranova (#49763257) Attached to: Oculus Founder Hit With Lawsuit

Definition of irony:

a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

But if you're aware of the concept of irony, and people find it amusing, and that people are fond of posting things they find amusing, this logically means that you're expecting something unexpected, which thus is not unexpected, thus nothing can be ironic to one who knows of irony, not even this very fact.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.