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Comment Re: Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 204

You think the political philosophy of libertarianism does not favour a particular economic model and vice versa ?

Libertarianism aside, reality favors the capitalistic economic model. It's the only one that works for any group of significant size. And if you start from the Non-Aggression Principle, free markets and capitalism are sure to follow. That does not imply that libertarianism is based on capitalism in general or the Austrian school of economics in particular, which is what you claimed.

As an aside, you should know that personal attacks just make you look bad, and don't help your case.

Comment Re: Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 204

Hell not only do they lack evidence they even use their own custom definition of inflation as "increased money supply". The proper definition is "decreased buying power".

That's because "decreased buying power" is a conflation of a huge number of possible factors, which makes any analysis of "inflation" by your definition meaningless. Regardless of whether you call it "inflation" or something else, the only factor that matters is the change in the money supply.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 204

But the "Austrian School" denies the fundamental existence of SCIENCE.

Nonsense. The Austrian school doesn't deny the existence of science (obviously), just the applicability of the typical scientific process as a means of deriving economic models which can effectively predict human behavior, particularly when those models are (ab)used in an attempt to change how people behave. People always manage to come up with innovative and unpredictable solutions to get around whatever changes you're trying to force on them.

Effective economic predictions have more to do with the mathematical/logical domain of game theory than anything empirical. Austrian economics recognizes that, where other schools do not. You can, of course, measure the empirical results of specific economic policies and circumstances, but don't expect past performance to be a reliable predictor of future results.

Comment Re: Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 204

including the Austrian model (which libertarianism is based on)

Libertarianism is a political philosophy based on the Non-Aggression Principle, not an economic model. You don't have to agree with Austrian economics, or even think that libertarian policies will be economically beneficial, to be a libertarian. It's a philosophy based on the principle of rights, not pragmatism—which is not to say that it isn't also the pragmatic choice for entirely different reasons.

Comment Re:Were you endangered? (Score 1) 226

New York is where both engines of USAir flight were hit by soft bodied geese weighing less than 20 pounds each and forced the plane to crash land in the Hudson river. The drones have hard metal parts and hard plastic. They would do far more damage to the plane.

As this is an obvious design flaw in the plane with or without drones, perhaps the FAA should consider mandating suitable filters on the engine intakes for commercial planes, instead of trying to ban anything that might cross a plane's path.

Comment Re:ISP liability (Score 1) 43

The constitution itself says that treaties with foreign governments are the highest law of the land.

The Constitution says that at the Constitution, U.S. law, and treaties are (together) the highest law of the land—in that order. It also says that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech". That doesn't change regardless of what any treaty might say; a treaty is not a Constitutional amendment. If a treaty says that we have to pass an unconstitutional law, well, we'll just have to break that treaty, because Congress cannot grant itself powers specifically forbidden them in the Constitution through a mere treaty, any more than Congress could pass a law to the same effect.

Comment Re:What makes someone a Troll? (Score 1) 153

Patents are supposed to be open, and should explain exactly how to do something to someone skilled in the art. In terms of knowledge, patents are much better than trade secrets this way.

That's the theory, but it fails on both the openness of patents and the effectiveness of trade secrets. "Best practice" for patent applicants is to do everything you can to ensure that the patent provides insufficient detail to recreate the invention, while still remaining enforceable. In exchange they provide they get a 20-year de jure monopoly, during which time whatever information they deigned to provide cannot be used by anyone else without their permission. By contrast, while the holder of a trade secret doesn't have to publish anything, the burden of keeping the trade secret is entirely on them, and in the modern world hardly anything about a product can truly remain secret for 20 years.

Having the choice of a patent or trade secret ensures that the invention will be kept out of the public domain for either 20 years or however long it can be kept as a trade secret, whichever is longer. To assume that the patent system would bring inventions into the public domain faster than trade secrets alone presumes that inventors are either irrational actors or incapable of producing reasonable estimates for how long they can maintain their trade secrets in the absence of patent protection.

TL;DR: Patents are neither necessary nor sufficient to speed up the passage of trade secrets into the public domain.

Comment Re:No federal shield law. (Score 1) 471

A freedom to do something is no protection from social enforcement of the consequences of you exercising that freedom.

Ridiculous. By that argument, everyone has the freedom to do absolutely anything they want—they might just get thrown in jail if it happens to violate a law. This makes a mockery of the very word "freedom".

If the law says that an action can lead to you being put in jail, fined, or otherwise deprived of your legal rights, you aren't free to do it. "Free" means "no strings attached". Within the legal domain, naturally; the freedom of speech has never included protection against possible social consequences. Others have every right to respond with speech of their own, or to withhold their support or association depending on how they feel about what you've said.

It's funny how everyone turns to the "fire in a crowded theater" case when discussing the limits of freedom of speech, because in addition to being logically unsound, that ruling was politically motivated with the clear intent of suppressing political speech by war protesters (Schenck v. United States). In other words, exactly the opposite of what freedom of speech is supposed to stand for, even by the strictest standards.

If the speech is false, and deliberately intended to manipulate others as tools for causing harm, not by their choice but by the choice of the speaker, and the actions these others chose to take based on the speech would not have been harmful if the speech had been true—then we can discuss whether a punishment is justified, not for the speech per se but for the harm that the speaker deliberately set out to achieve. But "(falsely) shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theater" is not that case. Whatever the speaker's intent, the actions of the listeners were not reasonable or justified even by the standard of what they believed to be true, and it is those unjustifiable actions which resulted in the harm, not the false speech.

Comment Re:Get elected, change the law (Score 2) 166

... that treaty would trump any laws of a government in the USA. According to the Constitution, it would even trump the Constitution.

A common misconception. Treaties don't "trump" the U.S. Constitution, they form the highest law of the land alongside the U.S. Constitution and U.S. law:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Treaties do take precedence over state constitutions and laws. The only thing that would trump the U.S. Constitution, however, would be an amendment or constitutional convention. The federal government cannot bypass its own constitutional limits by entering into treaties any more than it can grant itself unconstitutional powers by passing laws. Only the states can do that, by amending or replacing the Constitution.

Comment Re:Getting better at estimating (Score 1) 299

Software development is quite a lot like low volume custom manufacturing for a complex product which is actually the kind of manufacturing my company does. Most of my time is actually spent engineering and specifying the product....

You may call it "manufacturing", but what you describe sounds like R&D to me, with manufacturing as the final step. That's a bit like referring to the entire process of specifying, designing, writing, and deploying a new software package as "software deployment".

Comment Re:But they will politely knock! (Score 1) 142

âoeWe arenâ(TM)t seeking a backdoor approach. We want to use the front door, with clarity and transparency, and with clear guidance provided by law,â FBI chief James B. Comey said at the Brookings Institution in October.

The "front door" is exactly where it's always been: you obtain a subpoena against the owner of the device requiring them to turn over the information in their possession.

There is no way to use a "front door" in secrecy, or without the cooperation (willing or otherwise) of the owner. Mechanisms for bypassing the owner's access controls or accessing the owner's property without the owner's knowledge are rightfully referred to as "back doors".

(Note: Not a warrant, a subpoena. A warrant would merely give them permission to seize the physical device and search it for information themselves; it wouldn't guarantee them access to the plaintext if the storage is encrypted. A subpoena would allow them to demand that you provide the decrypted data.)

Comment Re:As always: stupid laws deserve to be ignored (Score 1) 162

Do you really think you could scrape up 10 or 20 percent of voters (at least 43 members of the House of Representatives, or 10 senators) willing to commit political suicide by opposing an acknowledged "essential function" for no better reason than to cause trouble?

Even if they did, so what? The bill just gets reintroduced after the next election. There is no government function so essential that losing it for a few years would mean the end of the world.

Comment Re:Getting better at estimating (Score 1) 299

It's no different in manufacturing, construction or any other complex field.

Unless you're doing something extraordinarily boring, like porting existing software to a new (but well-understood) platform with few, if any, unknowns, software development isn't like manufacturing or construction—it's research and development. The analogue to manufacturing or construction would be software deployment, which actually does tend to meet predictable cost and schedule targets. But when has R&D ever been known to follow a fixed schedule?

Comment Re:As always: stupid laws deserve to be ignored (Score 1) 162

Result would be large "omnibus" packages of laws as a single bills

Add a requirement for a 4/5 majority to pass any bill and those "omnibus" bills would be dead in the water. For that matter, a 9/10 minimum would not be unreasonable; the law should be written so as to enjoy widespread support, and not cater to a small majority at the expense of minorities. If 10 to 20 percent of the population objects to a bill, it probably shouldn't be on the books. Leave such provisions to smaller, more homogeneous areas—states, counties, municipalities—where consensus on such matters is not out of reach.

The more complex the bill, the harder it is to achieve consensus. Mix in lots of complex or controversial elements and everyone will be able to find some reason to vote against it. The only way to get a bill passed would be to make it small and focused and leave out anything controversial.

Comment Re:Don't we (the US) already have that... (Score 1) 1291

Basic income has exactly the same flaw, but worse. If you have an income of $100k/yr, basic income will not be very valuable to you, it may represent only 5% of your income.

That isn't the same flaw at all. The problem with basic services compared to basic income is that with basic services you have a gap or "cliff" which must be overcome before any effort you put in to improve your situation will be rewarded; a small effect may even make your situation worse. We see this issue today with welfare, where getting a regular job can disqualify you from welfare, creating a disincentive to work. This gap is most noticeable at the low end of the income scale, where basic income/services are most significant.

The problem of diminishing and/or negative returns for higher-income individuals is a problem with government and taxes in general, and has nothing to do with basic income or basic services in particular. It is thus out of scope for this thread. For the record, I'm opposed to both basic income and basic services (and taxes, public services, and government in general). But given a choice between three poor options, the current system, pure basic income, or pure basic services, I would pick basic income.

The Constitutional amendment, however, is an absolute necessity. There is no point whatsoever to implementing a basic income or basic services, or almost any other major reform (e.g. the so-called "Fair Tax"), unless you simultaneously repeal the old system and guarantee that the new one won't simply devolve back into the mess we have today. Without an amendment any talk of basic income or services is just so many empty campaign promises. If they did manage to get either implemented, but in addition to the current system and not as a replacement, I expect that it would make the situation worse rather than better.

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