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Comment: So what (Score 4, Interesting) 81

by FreeUser (#49745787) Attached to: Take Two Sues BBC Over Drama About GTA Development

What if it's a smear job on Take Two? At taxpayer expense?

1. This isn't at taxpayer expense. It is at television owners' expense. Only people with televisions have to pay the television license that funds the BBC, not all taxpayers. To conflate the two is disingenuous.

2. So what if it is inaccurate or a smear job. That is part of having a free press: the right to get it wrong (and if you do, be eviscerated and/or humiliated by everyone else). The BBC has a very good record and deservedly good reputation, because despite the occasional imperfection, by and large their reporting and documentaries are first rate.

This lawsuit is an attempt to undermine the free press and apply inappropriate pressure to the editorial process, and frankly, Rockstar and Take Two deserve a severe smackdown for trying to do so, irrespective of the program's content.

Comment: Re:Harder: self-stabilizing parachute, or balance (Score 1) 490

by jfengel (#49745245) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

But it does require extra fuel. I'd have expected that fuel to be more than the weight of a parachute system, though perhaps not: it would be lowering a mostly-empty tin can.

I imagine that it's a bonus to be able to have that kind of precision on your rocket engines: if you can get them down, then it may provide advantages in going up. Certainly it's nice that you've proven that kind of control.

Comment: In a nutshell (Score 4, Insightful) 81

by FreeUser (#49744457) Attached to: Take Two Sues BBC Over Drama About GTA Development

In a nutshell, what they're saying is:

"If we can't control your editorial content in reporting about or dramatizing our behavior, we're going to sue you in an attempt to make it not worth your while to report on or dramatize our behavior"

Fuck them. I hope the BBC has the backbone to stick up to this sort of corporate bullying. If the show isn't flattering to Take Two, they can suck it up like anyone else.

Comment: Re:Maybe I'm Old (Score 1) 47

I agree. It may only take a few seconds to google, but that's a few seconds unnecessarily wasted because the summary poster was too lazy to provide a definition (though to be fair, with as inaccurate as some summaries have been lately, this isn't the worst offense by far).

a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.
"anyone who decides to take a MOOC simply logs on to the website and signs up"

Comment: Re:Numbers (Score 1) 825

by FreeUser (#49737535) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

And in exchange for higher taxes on driving, they get the privilege of providing Oregon information on how much they travel and WHERE THEY TRAVEL.

It doesn't have to be that way. There could simply be an annual check of your odometer when you get your annual emissions check, with a bill due for the miles driven in the last year * rate per mile, payable in 60 days, with a slightly higher rate if you'd like to pay in installments. No need for GPS tracking at all.

Of course, they'll no doubt push in the direction of GPS tracking because big brother likes his data, but really, we could have per mile taxation without big brother intrusions if we as a society would stand up and demand it.

Comment: Re:Why did they ditch the TV? (Score 2) 243

by jfengel (#49729043) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

The crux, as I see it, is that an add-on box is clunky compared to a TV. It's a thing that has to be installed. That's not vastly hard, but it's a power cord and a data cable, and it just kinda hangs off of your TV. That's not elegant. (Note: I don't have an Apple TV, but I don't get the impression that they have any better solution than my Roku does.)

They can certainly make the software better, but I can see why they would want to sell you an entire television to make the entire user experience just right. It's kinda too bad that it just doesn't add enough value to a TV to make it worth the trouble. Apple has always succeeded best when they could make their solutions elegant, in ways that seem obvious yet nobody had done them until Apple did.

I do like your idea for improving the iPod, though perhaps an audio indicator ("You have ten minutes of play time remaining") would be easier, since it's just a software update. I suspect that they won't be refreshing that line very often. I, for one, have switched to using my phone, finally putting my much-beloved fourth-generation Nano to bed. (It was the last one before it became an iOS device, which meant that it was perfectly optimized for playing music and nothing else. But my phone does a better job, especially since it has wi-fi built in, and I am going to be carrying it around anyway.)

Comment: Re:Print some bucks (Score 1) 335

by jfengel (#49721637) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

It's the corporate cash, rather than the consumers. A lot of it is sitting in the Fed itself. Bank reserves with the Fed have skyrocketed:

They've been sitting at about 3 trillion dollars. They could invest that in new products, but they don't seem to think that the consumers have the money to make that investment worthwhile. I think they're wrong. Consumers are starting to borrow again:


after a substantial blip during the crisis itself.

So I think (and I believe you agree with me) that this is really caused by the investor class failing to invest. That's an odd economic choice, since that kind of stagnation should mean that inflation gradually eats their nest egg. They've managed to keep inflation low. The Fed is offering free money, and instead they're putting their cash into the bank.

A lot of economists would say that it's time for even more forcible inflationary measures, since the current low rates only barely seem to be staving off deflation. The Fed hasn't been willing to go that far (they'd rather that the legislature do it if the investors won't), but they have repeatedly refused to raise interest rates. That's the action they take when they're afraid of inflation; it's the punch bowl they take away when the party gets going. And this party is stuck; it's not completely moribund but it's getting mediocre small talk (and many are shut out entirely.)

Comment: Re:Print some bucks (Score 4, Interesting) 335

by jfengel (#49719071) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

Effectively, they have been. The Federal Reserve has been keeping interest rates at levels that should be causing significant inflation. The goal is to prevent a deflationary spiral by pumping up the money supply: when you can borrow lower than inflation, people should borrow and pay it back with tomorrow's less-valuable dollars.

They've been doing that for nearly a decade now, and it has successfully prevented the deflation, but it's a little baffling that it hasn't touched off more inflation than it has. The consumer confidence is hovering around 100, which should be a decent level for a stable economy. Unemployment is still higher than we'd like but it's well off the bust years.

My hypothesis is that people have gotten too used to boom economies. If people aren't getting triple-digit returns they don't want to invest. What we've got is a very stable economy, exactly the kind that people should be able to take risks in, but without a real estate boom or dotcom boom or other scheme to get people to dump their whole life savings and then borrow on margin, they just don't bother.

Stability means that those who have been left behind continue to be left behind. That's the worst thing that can be said about the economy. There just isn't an engine of growth.

There are a lot of other factors, I'm sure. Europe went mostly for less aggressive measures, and their economies haven't come out as well, meaning fewer markets there. China's growth has ceased to be ridiculous. Oil prices should have sparked some kind of boom, and I've got a nasty cynical feeling that Wall Street is ideologically predisposed not to invest in the emerging energies as much as they should.

But a lot of it is the catch-22 you mentioned. Consumers and investors each seem to be waiting for the other to go first. We've been technically out of recession for more than five years, and it's gotten past the point where the recovery could be called mere accounting. It's real. But America just hasn't gotten its feet back under it in the way that it usually does.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.