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Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 1) 126

Big internet sites make the economy more efficient. But the problem is an efficient economy doesn't need workers. And if there are no workers, there's no one to purchase the goods.

"Workers" can find something else to do, possibly newer and more interesting kinds of work, or possibly less work on a four day week, etc.

Look, humanity is stuck on this rock, we aren't going anywhere unless someone figures out how to do the impossible and fly around the galaxy faster than light. So our society needs an eventual end goal, and it seems widely agreed that this end goal should be that we all live lives of leisure and can do/go/explore/build whatever the hell we like, whenever we like it. Obviously along the way that means we'll end up doing less and less work until hardly anyone is doing any real work at all and it's all done by robots a la the world of Manna which was discussed here on Slashdot not that long ago.

So if books get delivered by radio to a device with a battery that lasts for a month and gives me access to the whole world's library for a pittance, how is that not a giant step towards the kind of utopia I described above? Small local bookshops staffed by smart shop assistant girls with cute French accents are great until you realise they don't have the book you want and you had to haul your ass into town in order to discover this fact (assuming the shop was even open by the time you got there). It's not something I would trade progress for.

Comment: The watch I want doesn'st exist yet. (Score 1) 292

by Qbertino (#47441961) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Smartwatch wishlist:
Waterproof (200 m)
Solar Powered
Flat but Sturdy - Think a combination of Casio G-Shock and Skagen
Pressure Sensor / Height Meter / Variometer
Temperature Sensor
Environment Sensor
Complete Biosensor Package
FOSS OS with every aspect configurable, especially blocking of corporate tracking (Google, Facebook, etc.)
Speed-charging mode
Assistance AI ('please' of course being optional :-) )
      --> Watch, when does the milonga in collogne start today?
      --> Watch, are the regional trains to collogne on schedule?
      --> Watch, please warn me if I cross the speed limit.
      --> Watch, please navigate me along the fastest route to school.
      --> Watch, I hear cheering from all the windows around me - who just scored a goal?
      --> Watch, guide me to the nearest DM that stocks dental care. (Watch knows that I'm on foot and guides me to the nearest Tramstation if required.)
      --> Watch, has the bike shop gotten back to us yet? (Watch checks voicebox and all message channels including mail)
      --> Watch, please tell me if todays schedule is still valid or if there are any unforseen changes.
      --> Watch, what was her name again? Just show, don't say.
      --> Watch, please record a tracklist of everything the DJ is playing tonight. Use any analytical software available, not just shazam. And establish what it would cost to buy that tracklist on the music platforms that we're registred on.
      --> Watch, please silence youself and all my devices in proximity until tomorrow 7:30 in the morning. Silence all priority notifications except the "Company Server Down" Alert. And go into "Push to show" mode for your clockface and turn of all screensavers and backlights. (Thinks to himself: I want to enjoy this evening/night with this tango-cutie here without any further disturbance. :-) ) ...

you get the picture.

Standardised wrist strap connections
Cheap and available spare wriststraps in variing colors and materials
Cheap and available spare and extra bumber cases in variing colors and materials
1st hand 3D printing files of wriststraps and variant bumper cases
Quick change from wriststrap to pocket'watch' / pocketdevice mode ...
And probably some other things I haven't thought of yet. ...Allthoug I couldn't say if such a watch would be good for me. With that type of AI my brain would probably start to rott from under-usage quite soon :-) .

My 2 cents.

Comment: Re:Moby Dick ain't got no Porta Potty (Score 1) 201

by evilviper (#47441909) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

And why is all tarp blue? Can't they make them camouflage color for St. Pete's sake?

Silver is also popular, and there are camo tarps:

Also I've seen some shiny travel trailers made out of stainless or nickel plate that's not peeled, but those are small, expensive, and they are meant for more like a desert area to reflect the heat of the Sun.

Reflective coatings work both ways... They also keep heat inside from being radiated out.

I'm currently looking to sell just such a trailer, in good shape. 1950s, 8x36' in Southern California.

Comment: There are better than Apple's (Score 1) 53

Why do they mention that and fail to mention devices which present even higher density displays? My Nexus 5 has 445ppi display density.

I find it annoying that despite the existence of common devices which are "better" that the "best" is still considered to be Apple's. Nothing like product endorsement which wasn't [likely] even paid for. At the very least, they should have included the trademark sign to indicate they were making a commercial reference in their endorsement. (They did, at least capitalize "retina" in retina display... that's not quite the same thing and kind of makes it worse.)

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 234

And before _whatever_date_is_inconvenient_for_somebody_else Beersheba was a town of Jews. You can go back as far or as close as you want and find somebody living here. I mention that in my other posts.

Yes, but going back indefinitely is pointless. Memories have half-lives. What matters most for resolution of conflict is what people who are alive today remember and feel, not what some goat herder did a thousand years ago (maybe, assuming the historical texts are accurate).

Within living memory, Beersheba started out as being Palestinian. That's the start date that matters. If in 50-100 years or so when everyone who remembers that is dead, pointing this out will be as stale as the statement I quoted above. But not today.

Honestly, when ordinary people outside that place look at the state of Israel and Gaza it's hard not to conclude that Israel should never have been created at all. The Jews who were living around the world could have stayed there, or moved to places with no anti-semitic political forces.

Comment: Re:Why the assumption.... (Score 2) 126

Why the assumption that it is good for for-profit companies to find loopholes and avoid the will of democratically elected governments.

Democratically elected does not equal democratic.

The most democratic place I know of is Switzerland, where there is an absolutely constant stream of referendums on absolutely everything, mostly things that in other countries would be all be lumped under an umbrella vote for left or right. For example the Swiss recently voted on the question of whether to buy new Gripen fighter jets. The French, in contrast, have a system so undemocratic that the President doesn't even need the authority of parliament to start a war!

I think it's very corrosive to imply that people a huge bloc of people get a vote between two or three possibilities every four or five years, that somehow legitimises everything that government does in the meantime. It doesn't. The system of voting we have was decided on hundreds of years ago when most people couldn't even read and letters took days or weeks to cross countries. Representatives chosen locally every few years made total sense in such a world. It's now obsolete, much better possibilities can be imagined or even implemented. Western democracy is merely the least worst system tried so far, not the best.

In this case, there's no justification for the French government to be messing with Amazon. As pointed out in other replies to your comment, if the French people truly prefer their local bookshops over Amazon then they'll vote with their wallet, a far fairer and more democratic way of doing things than central government mandate. This idea isn't stupid, there are parts of the world that places big chain stores and brands don't make much progress in because of local culture. But times change and countries are very large. Take McDonalds in France. In 2013 we have this story about an anti-McDonalds protest and the local government attempting to block construction of a restaurant there. But then in 2014 we have another story where the French are protesting for a McDonald's, they're upset because it's been delayed and they want it to open.

These sorts of disputes are best left to ordinary people to work out economically.

Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 3, Interesting) 126

Yeah, and so what?

The underlying assumption behind this kind of move seems to be the belief that small local bookshops are inherently worth protecting. Why is that? It's not like if a bookshop closes the land it occupied is salted with radioactive waste. Something else, possibly something more useful will move in.

The real problem here is not Amazon or books or even Google, it's the French mindset that things should never change, that the old ways are always the best ways. Perhaps France has an unusually elderly set of politicians or voters, but you see this in all its areas, most notoriously agriculture. Old ways of farming were put on a quasi-religious pedestal and vast amounts of EU policy and budget were redirected towards preserving them.

Fetishing bookshops doesn't have any emotional appeal to me - they're just buildings stacked with a small and limited selection of reading materials, which inefficiently deploy land and people. Given the rise of the e-book even large chain bookshops will likely disappear over the coming decades, and who will cry for them?

Perhaps the space the bookshops used up can be replaced by coffee shops - spaces for social interaction and work, where reading an e-book and then meeting a friend and having a nice conversation at ordinary volume is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your time.

Comment: Re:Ewww... (Score 1) 201

by evilviper (#47441803) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

Probably the worst part about reverse osmosis is that it eliminates the water "taste" that people are used to because it gets rid of minerals as well.

The loss of minerals is a heath issue. The "taste" is hardly the "worst part" of doing this. And let's not forget that demineraled (RO) water will dissolve metal pipes, coffee machines, pots and pans, etc.

That's why they usually mix it with some other source like lake or ground water before it gets piped out to homes.

So, again, you're getting only a fraction of the minerals you used-to get out of drinking water.

RO should always involve carefully re-adding natural mineral content. Failing to do so is worse than not RO filtering the water in the first place.

Comment: Re:Moby Dick ain't got no Porta Potty (Score 1) 201

by evilviper (#47441775) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

Camping out in a nonresidence tent on your lot in the middle of winter to save a few bucks? There is a pill for that too!

There are 4-season tents that are well-insulated and stay nice and warm through mild winters just from body-heat. Active heating can make the colder winters comfortable, too. Heck, a -30F degree sleeping bag isn't that expensive, so you can stay pretty damn warm without any heater.

And is there some regulation forcing only tents on your lot? Most people also consider living in a travel-trailer to be "camping". They are cheap, can be quite comfortable, even in winter, even without direct utility hook-ups. Rain collection, grey water, small septic system, and solar power, can make your trailer camping semi-permanent with only minimal hassle.

Comment: Re:"Tastes about average for West Texas" (Score 1) 201

by evilviper (#47441741) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

I tasted the water in San Diego, Escondido, Ramona, and many MUCH MUCH more rural spots.

"Much more rural" than San Diego... You don't say?! Yeah, San Diego's water has tasted awful for many decades. That's hardly a good test. But they're the worst, not an example of the good stuff.

California water always wins top-honors in water-tasting competitions:

If you can't find good water out west, I suppose you've just become acclimated to the taste of Florida water, and always favor the familiar...

Comment: Hard to tell if it's working. (Score 4, Informative) 235

by Animats (#47438917) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Here's the promotional video from Rafael, the system's maker. If the Iron Dome launchers are in a position to hit incoming rockets when they're still in boost phase, they're clearly effective. When they hit, the ascending rocket's flare disappears. Israel has Iron Dome launchers both forward postioned near Gaza, for boost phase defense, and near cities, for terminal defense. For terminal defense, it's harder to tell if they worked. The incoming rockets are just falling at that point, and success requires blowing up their warhead, not their rocket engine.

Videos show the missile's warhead exploding. That's triggered by a proximity fuse. There's a spray of shrapnel from the warhead; it doesn't have to be a direct hit. Whether that sets off the incoming rocket's warhead isn't visible from the videos of terminal defense.The Patriot missiles used in the Gulf war were able to hit incoming Scud missiles, but often didn't detonate the warhead.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken