Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Sunk Cost (Score 1) 586 586

The development money is gone. Who you blame the loss on is irrelevant to that. Emotional attachment to lost money is one of the biggest problems plaguing any large organization. The question isn't whether we should add money to a very expensive (but not a trillion dollars, that includes projected maintenance) project.

The question is, given the platform available right now is it worth it to spend money correcting deficiencies, or would it be more cost-effective to take another option, from re-engineering the F-15 to starting all over again. I don't know the answer to this question but by bringing up past cost as if it were relevant and by adding future costs the writer of this article showed a bias that makes me disregard the whole thing. This isn't a policy piece, it's a hit piece.

Comment: regulation (Score 1) 223 223

All regulation isn't bad, and ignoring regulation (breaking the law) generally is bad. But some regulation, especially that brought on by corporate-government alliances, can be harmful. I'm torn.

Have you heard of keiretsu? In post World War II Japan they had an era of robber-barons much like that the US experienced, at the same time they were industrializing. Which makes me think some of what we're seeing in China is just what happens during and immediately after any industrial revolution, but that's a different topic.

Part of Japanese culture, the idea that a business owner is responsible for the welfare of the families of his employees, allowed massive business conglomerates to form and ally with the Japanese government without taking too much advantage of workers. In the US unions had the same balancing effect. But what I'm getting at is that in both countries there was significant regulatory capture and the building of infrastructure was funded by government-corporate alliances. New technologies: railroads, the telegraph, and port systems were erected for mutual benefit by companies that were allowed free reign.

I'm not going full fascist here, but it's undeniable there were some mutual benefits from these forms of cooperation, making up for some to all of the problems the same entities caused, depending on your political point of view. What does this have to do with Uber?

This amount of lobbying in the present corrupt US congressional state of existence is sure to lead to regulatory capture, which is sure to lead to something I'm going to call infrastructure.

Rapid ad-hoc commercialization of immediately available resources is an immensely powerful technology. It's not recognized yet, but Uber is at the front of a wave of change. Cars are just the beginning. You can rent driveways now, for a single day. Collaborative reputation-based commerce and ubiquitous internet access is allowing the closest thing that fits a consumer's need to be provided. It's oil for the capitalist machine.

How many people have a bicycle they haven't used for years? A lawn mower they use only every two weeks? Computer cables? Rent out your CPU to a Bitcoin mining group? Need to rent a generator for the weekend? Need a cup of sugar? People don't know their immediate neighbors anymore but they'll soon have a reputation on their mesh network.

As a tool of commerce this is every bit as powerful as the railroad was in its day. And it needs just as much support, recognition, and regulation. The government just doesn't have the tools yet to cope. But Uber's regulatory capture will create the framework. It's going to be corrupt, wasteful, and poorly written but that will change over time in the same way regulations written for railroads changed over time.

Government always gets worse, fnar fnar. No, it doesn't. Do you see Chinese chain gangs building railroads today? Do you see corporate-owned towns with single all-powerful individuals built to service trains? Do you see a single company wholly controlling access to one rail line? No. Government doesn't always get worse and over time as technologies mature and knowledge disseminates regulation of an infrastructure improves.

This doesn't need to be regulated.Yes it does. I believe in free enterprise. I really do. I've read enough history to see the power free association and free ownership brings. I believe anonymity should be a protected right. I believe in all-but-absolutely free speech. But I've also read enough history to see the harm unfettered capitalism brings. If the government doesn't regulate this new form of commerce networks will form into net-negative predatory entities. They'll lie, cheat, and steal from the naive, even from their own members. Just as a traditional company is forbidden from false advertising, cheating their customers, and breaking contracts this new type of entity must be forbidden to do these things. Just as a traditional employee can call the FTC if she didn't get her paycheck there needs to be someone to call when didn't return someone's lawnmower.

Unintentionally and for its own aims, Uber is building a governmental framework to regulate and support ad-hoc commerce. And while I hate to see regulatory capture that's a good thing.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 201 201

Actually, I want to ask a slightly better question too. Given all you know about AI, this particular AI, and Google's efforts: if hardware keeps improving at its present rate for another 20 years will that alone probably suffice to turn Google's program into strong AI?

Comment: Re:Coral dies all the time (Score 2) 104 104

You're right! Some coral will survive, and its progeny will be able to better survive.

But I don't care about that, because that's going to take thousands of years. What I'm worried about NOW is whether the ecosystem in 20 years will be able to support another 500 million people. You didn't address that at all. And stop thinking your opinions make you better than others. It's arrogant and creates ignorance.

Comment: It's not the advertising (Score 1) 232 232

I don't think the problem is people letting themselves be manipulated by advertising. I think the real problem is news networks letting themselves be pressured into bias in the 'news" by the threat of removing advertising. So you have news networks pushing whatever agenda anyway, but with even more pressure to maximize shareholder value by essentially lying to the masses. THAT'S the problem with advertising dollars in elections.

Comment: Looking into these guys. (Score 2) 232 232

Disclamer: I will not research how well they keep their promises, or acts they voted for and against or sponsored. I do not endorse or oppose any of these candidates.

I looked at their website, It referred me to a different site, describing five proposals they support. The plan of Democrat Mr. Sarbanes was first. His site seems to directly address various issues, with little double-speak. The Government By the People Act is its own section of his site, listed under "issues", but in its own section. The plan hinges on a tax credit for political donations to encourage small donors. Also this:

"Allow candidates to earn additional public matching funds within 60 days of the election so that citizen-funded candidates can combat Super PAC"

which doesn't explain how superpac donations won't apply to the matching funds. To be fair I didn't look into it.

Next is Democrat David Price. His site isn't as straight-forward, but does present mostly solid stances on the issues. I couldn't find the Empowering Citizens Act(pdf warning) without using the search function, which tells me he's not staking his reputation on it. This one is more complicated but the main theme seems to be limiting per-donor donations. Obviously loopholes that allow present donors to give more than they need to declare (such as giving bonuses to employees who promise to donate most of the bonus) remain. It also limits total public funds available to candidates, which my intuition tells me will have the opposite effect. This plan looks pretty slimy to me. Your opinion may vary.

Republican Jim Rubens plan, Political Money Reform Proposal" isn't on his site at all, so the link is back to It involves a larger tax rebate for donations and "Require searchable, realtime online reporting of contributions above $200" and removes all political spending and contribution limits.

Republican Richard Painter literally wrote the bookon ethics reform. His site is his university's site, so wouldn't naturally have details on supported initiatives. According to the Taxation Only With Representation Act involves a $200 tax rebait for private donations and nothing else.

Comment: Re:Yes, it's called redundancy (Score 2) 107 107

Because doing it right involves a full fail-over test including transferring loads or test loads, DNS auto-reconfiguration, and possibly even paying extra to bring up extra capacity elsewhere. You need to make sure it happens right when it's needed. Extra paperwork, overtime, it's all in there.

Comment: Re:I've developed a Slashdot mind control device (Score -1, Troll) 27 27

>inb4 beta

But that's what it is. They're taking their shitty Beta ideas from months ago, eliminating most, but not all, of the bugs, and putting them back in one at a time. Probably related to selling off Slashdot. The real idea is to give admins complete control over content and comments, which can't happen until they've screwed over the UI completely.

Comment: Security and 1984 (Score 4, Insightful) 59 59

Little is more Orwellian among our government's many exploits than its attempts to break into our computer systems.

The ever-present security camera? That's bad, but it's still out in public. It's on the street, maybe in the stores. They're not in your home, not yet. Rubber stamp warrants? That's worse: It allows targeted invasions of privacy. But at least it requires a the resources of a human with a paycheck and his own sense of morals. But breaking into computer systems? They're in our pockets, in our homes, and have access to every bit of our modern lives. From shopping lists to love letters to medicine prescriptions they contain whole lives. Snippets from every trip you've taken are encoded there.

And a program doesn't have a sense of right and wrong. It will never refuse to spy on ethical grounds. It won't bring things up to the attention of oversight committees. It won't make anonymous calls to the ethics line. It won't refuse to work, leak information, or demand orders in writing. A program will quietly do as its told, wherever it can. Above all prying surveillance I believe ubiquitous IT access by the government needs to be contained.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau