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Comment: Re:The system is corrupt ... (Score 1) 133

This is precisely why all of those people who bray about deregulation and the free market are either deluded, or in on the scam

In many cases, the free market approach works in theory, but not in practice because theory little things like buying influence, gobbling up companies to make local monopolies, dividing territory to make local monopolies, etc don't exist. The folks who keep saying "the market will fix everything" look at the theory and ignore that the theory also includes a public with access to enough data to make an informed decision (no hiding charges below the fold - i.e. advertising $50 a month and then adding in $30 in "fees and taxes") and with enough choices to be able to vote with their wallets.

I would love for the free market approach to work with Comcast. Really, I would. Sadly, Comcast has taken the free market, bent it over, and is currently doing some unspeakable things to it while saying they need to buy out Time Warner Cable so they can "serve the customer better." (I think "serve the customer" is cable-speak and I don't think I want what they really plan on "serving" us!)

Comment: Re:circle jerk (Score 1) 133

They can also promise a nice, cushy lobbyist position after the Congressman retires from public office. So you act like a good little politician and parrot just what your corporate masters tell you to say so that when you decide to step down you will be paid a good wage to sit around doing nothing with the occasional passing corporate "requests" on to your old colleagues.

Comment: Re:We Really Don't (Score 3, Interesting) 146

by Jason Levine (#48903799) Attached to: How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

It might seem like nitpicking, but "guess" to me always implies taking a stab in the dark with little to no evidence and ending there. A scientific hypothesis, meanwhile, usually starts with some data, builds an argument that X should be true because of the initial data, and is subjected to testing to either confirm it or disprove it.

To give an example, you are presented with a clear cube filled with gumballs. A guess would be glancing at it and saying "600?" A hypothesis would be measuring the sides, estimating the size of each gumball, figuring out that there should be 1,000 gumballs, and then opening up the cube and counting the gumballs.

Comment: Re:What a bunch of A-Holes (Score 5, Insightful) 235

by Jason Levine (#48903753) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

How are you going to watch HD Netflix? Let alone 4K. Forget about it.

We won't and this is by design. Right now, if Americans want video entertainment, we mostly turn to cable TV companies. These companies have monopolies in their areas. Like a group of rival mobs, they've carved up the territory so that they don't compete with each other. They also have bribed... I mean lobbied politicians to pass laws to benefit themselves (the cable TV companies) at the local, state, and national level.

Now, with this level of control, the cable companies have enjoyed an almost unimpeded ability to charge whatever they decide and to offer services however they like. If you didn't like this, you had virtually nobody to go to. You could get TV from a satellite TV provider, but Internet was likely just the cable company or the phone company and the latter was increasingly going the high-priced mobile route.

Enter the Internet and high speed access. Now, consumers started realizing they don't need the high priced cable service. They just need a fast Internet connection. The cable companies are scared (though they won't admit it publicly - can't spook the shareholders) so they are trying to keep speeds slow, institute caps "to manage network traffic", and take other measures (such as messing with connections to Netflix) to minimize how many customers flee to Internet video solutions.

So not being able to watch HD Netflix or 4K? That's a cable company feature, not a bug.

Comment: Re:Money (Score 1) 235

by Jason Levine (#48903655) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Also remember that cable companies don't want faster Internet speeds because faster speeds means it's easier to get your video entertainment from the Internet instead of from cable TV. If you decide to stream Netflix and are stuck at 3 Mbps, you might have problems. If you try to stream Netflix and are on 25 Mbps, you won't have any problems. (At least none arising from how much bandwidth you have, at least.)

Cable companies aren't going to publicly admit it, but they're scared that the American consumer will realize that they don't *need* to pay their cable TV provider $150+ a month for the privilege of receiving a few decent channels and tons of garbage. Instead, the American consumer (given enough bandwidth) could stream everything they want from various online providers for much less. Maybe cable companies will survive when more people discover this by morphing into Internet Cable Companies (streaming their offerings online) and offering competitive packages, but the cable companies would rather keep the local monopolies with high prices and no incentive to improve. (You can file bandwidth caps under this heading as well.)

Comment: Re:Viva Jar Jar! (Score 4, Informative) 418

by Jason Levine (#48887765) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

Best use of Jar-Jar I've ever seen was in the Clone Wars TV show. The clone troopers needed to get by some enemy soldiers so they let Jar-Jar talk to them to "negotiate." Jar-Jar's clumsiness winds up taking out every single enemy soldier. Jar-Jar is weaponized clumsiness. (Unfortunately, weaponizing his clumsiness also makes him extremely annoying.)

Comment: Re:Good news (Score 2) 418

by Jason Levine (#48887683) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

I had the same experience with Voltron. As a kid, I was a huge fan - five lions combining into one giant robot that beats up space monsters? YEAH! When I came on Netflix, I decided to watch it again to relive how wonderful it was. I got a couple of episodes in before I couldn't take it anymore. The plot was horrible, dialog cheesy, and characters barely thicker than cardboard. As a kid, I might be able to overlook a group of kids on the run being somehow able to make their way from the enemy's planet to their own with no explanation (they didn't have or acquire a ship at any point), but as an adult that's a plot hole big enough for Voltron to fly through. Some shows should just be left in the fog of memory.

Comment: Re:Yes, but not the flu (Score 1) 653

by Jason Levine (#48884453) Attached to: Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

A few years back, my family got H1N1. They each were in bed for a week (too weak to get up) before they began to recover. My wife's breathing took months to fully recover due to asthma. (Somehow I escaped despite my son coughing in my face repeatedly.) I'd say the flu is a lot worse than "sniffles for a few days."

Comment: Re:Just Require an IQ Test (Score 3, Informative) 653

by Jason Levine (#48884423) Attached to: Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

Yes, not everyone not vaccacinated will get catch a disease, yes, there are possible side effects and not everyone vaccacinated is completly immune. Which is espescially obvious as you even mention the fast mutating flu as an example.

One of the things that "helped" the anti-vax movement early on was that herd immunity protected them. If one family in a town decided not to vaccinate because "vaccines have toxins", they could rely on herd immunity same as if their kids actually had medical conditions that rendered vaccination not an option. So the anti-vax kids didn't seem to get sicker than the vax kids and the anti-vax movement spread. Unfortunately, we're getting to (or past) the herd immunity tipping point. So many parents have gone anti-vax that the diseases are making comebacks. The good news is that nothing will bring back support for vaccination like an outbreak. The bad news is that a lot of children (both anti-vax kids and kids who couldn't get the vaccinations due to age/medical conditions) will get sick and possibly die.

Comment: My Prediction (Score 1) 228

by Jason Levine (#48884273) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Whenever someone tries to predict the direction technology will take, they always miss the not-as-obvious-at-the-time revolution in technology that makes society take a sharp turn. In the 70's, a prediction wouldn't have included personal computers in everyone's home. In the 80's, it wouldn't have predicted the Internet. The 90's wouldn't have predicted the rise of smartphones or social media. Of course, all of these developments seem obvious in hindsight.

My guess is that something will come out that will completely change how we think of computers/Internet and all of these predictions will appear as idiotic as the ones in the 50's that predicted we'd have personal atomic power plants powering our appliances.

Comment: Re:Mutations and natural selection (Score 4, Insightful) 128

by Jason Levine (#48879577) Attached to: New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild

Not to mention that bacteria have been known to transfer genes between bacterium near them. (Bacteria: The original file sharers!) Say one of these gets out and encounters a similar bacteria without the "confinement genes". Could it laterally transfer genes that would help it survive without the "lab required environment"?

I'm not saying we should never experiment on anything (we should) or that building in safeties like this isn't a good idea (it is), but we should never let our guard down and say "We've thought of everything! This has fully secured us against any possible problem!"

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 4, Interesting) 799

by Jason Levine (#48877675) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

This isn't a safety issue at all. A comparison would be: People are used to TVs being large CRT tube devices so we're taking our flat panel display and adding a huge back to it so people will think there's more "TV power" in the giant box.

This is all about the auto manufacturers thinking people won't like quiet cars and so intentionally making cars make more noise to trick people into thinking "noisy car" = "powerful car".

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie