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Comment: Anything like Flashblock for HTML5? (Score 1) 157

by Solandri (#48919169) Attached to: YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 Video By Default
I tried setting Chrome to use HTML5 on YouTube for about a month. I had to switch it back to flash because of one thing - Flashblock. With flashblock, you can open a bunch of videos at once in different tabs, and they will not start playing until you flip to the tab and click the flashblock button. With HTML5, all those videos start playing in the background tabs simultaneously as soon as the pages finish loading. So you're basically limited to opening one video at a time. No queuing up videos you want to watch and flipping through them tab by tab.

Does anyone know of an extension similar to flashblock but for HTML5 on Chrome?

Comment: Re:A! SS! HO! LE! (Score 1) 214

by ScentCone (#48919125) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

I've heard those things and they often sound like a pissed off weedeater.

You have no idea what you're talking about. A passing car is louder than a small, well-tuned quad with quality balanced rotors at ground level. 30' in the air? Barely audible. There are noisier ones. I work with a 25-pound octo that sounds completely horrifying, and I know when and where to operate it. But thanks for speaking out of ignorance - it helps to put all of this stuff in perspective.

Comment: Re:How are they rocky? (Score 4, Informative) 55

by Solandri (#48918385) Attached to: Kepler Discovers Solar System's Ancient 'Twin'
Depends on the composition of your "rocky" planet. Fusion reagents are energy-positive up to iron. So basically, elements heavier than iron requires multiple supernovae to generate a substantial quantity. Elements lighter than iron can be released in just 1-2 supernovae.

The elements which make up most of the "rock" on our rocky planet are oxygen, silicon, calcium, iron, potassium, aluminum, and sodium. Of these, oxygen, silicon, and iron are a regular product of stellar fusion, and can be distributed from a single supernova.

Comment: Re:Do you trust them? (Score 3, Insightful) 120

by Solandri (#48918279) Attached to: New Google Fiber Cities Announced
If you're that worried, you can always route your traffic through a VPS for about $5/mo extra. Google peeking in on your data packets is so easily circumvented it's barely worth mentioning.

OTOH, with Verizon announcing it's ending FiOS rollouts, they need a good swift competitive kick in the rear to get them to provide what the market wants, rather than milking their existing infrastructure for as much money as they can. The only reason they're able to do things like stop fiber rollout is because they have a government-granted monopoly in the areas they serve. A competitor - be it Google or anyone else - is exactly what's needed to break up that monopoly and give the people what the want.

Comment: Re:This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 278

by Solandri (#48918151) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

It seems like trained economists are just as likely to fuck up an economy as would be trained monkeys -- because at the end of the day you have shockingly little control over things, and probably less of an understanding that you claim. Let's not start pretending that economists actually know anything about the economy. They know what their ideologically driven view of economics tells them to they know.

It's not really the economists' fault. Theirs is a profession based on predicting human behavior, which is unpredictable at best. A trained economist can make some basic, fundamental predictions which will correctly improve economic efficiency, especially in a developing economy. But once you get to a well-developed economy, most of the efficiency gains have already been made. And economic direction depends more on random variances in individual people's decisions.

Normally you can get around this problem by using a huge sampling size to average out the variances. But economics has the added twist that everyone knows what everyone else is doing. And if housing prices start going up, people think "wow, other people must know something I don't know, and I'd better start investing in housing" even though they have no idea why it's going up. That herd mentality messes up even averaging out the variances, and can turn even the perfect economist's predictions wrong.

The best engineering analogy I can come up with is a dynamically unstable (chaotic) system. You can predict the long-term (decades) and overall trends. But the day-to-day and year-to-year motions are highly irregular. But nobody cares about the long-term trends, and take economists to task for incorrectly predicting year-to-year movements.

Comment: Re:Accidental bugs? (Score 2) 156

by ScentCone (#48917929) Attached to: Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

There must be agencies seeding these projects, commercial and open source, with toxic contributors injected there to deliberately contaminate the code with such bugs. The further fact that one never sees responsible persons identified, removed and blacklisted suggests that contamination is top down.

Or, you are yourself a toxic seed planted by The Man in order to foment FUD and make good people not want to be part of these projects. Or something like that. Give it a rest with the absurd conspiracy crap.

Comment: Re:External Harddrive (Score 1) 231

by Solandri (#48917703) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?
An external hard drive is most convenient, but you have to be careful with RW media. One of my photos I was working on became corrupted. No problem, I just plugged in my external drive where I kept the backups. Then in a momentary drop in brain oxygen, I proceeded to drag and drop the corrupted file over the good backup, not the other way around. Goodbye backup. And undelete doesn't work when you copy a file over another file with the same name. (Fortunately this was a slide scan so I still had the analog original.)

If it's archival material (stuff that doesn't change), this is still a strong argument for using WORM (write once, read many) media - optical discs like DVD and Blu-ray. I'd been hoping someone would make a HDD enclosure with a write-protect switch like on SD cards. But the only one I've found was a specialty item apparently designed for police forensic work, not user friendliness. The write-protect "switch" is a jumper - I've mounted it inside another enclosure I had, but I have to open up the enclosure to switch the jumper. Which is probably fine if you're only using it on evidence hard drives which you never want to write to. But for home use where I'm toggling between writing new backups and occasionally restoring old backups, it's rather inconvenient.

Comment: Re:Why fly at 3AM? (Score 1) 214

by ScentCone (#48917113) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap
I've flown that exact same piece of equipment at 3:00 AM, just for fun. Not on Pennsylvania Ave in downtown DC, of course. But if the guy's a hobby flier up late on a weekend night playing with this quad copter, maybe trying to get a couple of cool scenic night time shots, is that so hard to believe? Or is your tinfoil hat so tight that you're also going to assume I can't possibly have been up late updating firmware, swapping some motors around, and then stepped outside in the low-traffic, peaceful night time hours to test my handiwork? Can't be! I must be an FBI stooge! Please.

Comment: Re:Frickin' Lasers! (Score 1) 214

by ScentCone (#48917073) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

the Navy *does* have some recently-deployed point defense laser technology designed to shoot down incoming cruise missiles

The problem is that the incoming drone could easily be flying below tree-top height. Like, 20 feet off the ground. Laser counter measures would be shooting at a target that would have large office buildings and other structures directly behind it.

Comment: This is fine in theory (Score 3, Interesting) 114

by Solandri (#48914583) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble
It's basically an interferometer - the maximum separation of the telescope's mirror/lens is what gets you resolution. The surface area just makes dim objects brighter. Using a diffraction lens is irrelevant to the interferometry - it's just a way of bending the incoming light.

The catch is, the surface area of your lens needs to be aligned within a fraction of a wavelength of light for interferometry to work. It's been done on smaller optical telescopes and bigger radio telescopes (radio waves are much longer than light waves, so proper alignment is a lot easier). Getting the edges of a half mile diameter ring to remain within less than one wavelength of light from your sensor is going to be very difficult. There are methods to correct for differing distances. But I'd imagine rotating such a large annular scope would induce a lot of micro-vibrations (bigger than a wavelength) which may thwart such methods.

Comment: Re:Escaping only helps you until a war. (Score 1) 318

by Solandri (#48914219) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

Taxing wealth is practically difficult.

It's worse than that. Taxing wealth is inherently unfair because it's double taxation. Wealth is an amount (e.g. $100,000). Income is a rate (e.g.($50,000/yr). Income taxes are also a rate (e.g. 10% of your $50,000/yr is $5000/yr). You cannot mix rates and amounts. In particular, wealth is what's left over after it's already been taxed.

Take two people making $50,000/yr. Each pays $5000 in taxes. Each pays $20,000/yr on essentials like housing and food. One person buys all the latest toys, parties every night, and in general fritters away her remaining $25,000. At the end of 10 years, she's earned $500,000, paid $50,000 in taxes, has spent $250,000 on fun, and has zero accumulated wealth.

The other person eschews the toys and parties and saves the $25,000. At the end of 10 years, she's earned $500,000, paid $50,000 in taxes, and has $250,000 in accumulated wealth. But then you come by with a wealth tax and say she has to pay an extra 10%. So now she's paid $75,000 in taxes even though she earned exactly as much money as the other person who paid $50,000 in taxes. She's only allowed to spend $225,000 on herself because she had the temerity to save her money instead of blowing it on fun.

A wealth tax is taxing money that has already been taxed, and the fact that it's taxing an amount instead of a rate makes it impossible to synchronize with other income taxes - i.e. examples like the one I just gave are inevitable. It's inherently unfair. If you want to tax richer people more, just crank up the income tax rate on higher income brackets.

Comment: Re:No we are not them. Re:"They" is us (Score 2) 318

by Solandri (#48914071) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

In USA money earned by blood, sweat, tears and brains (wages, earned income) is taxed at much higher rate than money earned by money (capital gains, carried interest, qualified dividends, etc). This is the root cause of the inequality.

That's not quite true. Look at the individual income tax stats for 2012. Scroll over to column T. That's the actual tax paid as percent of gross income. It neatly sums up the effect of graduated tax brackets, tax credits, and deductions.

4.1% - $15,000 under $20,000
5.2% - $20,000 under $25,000
6.1% - $25,000 under $30,000
6.8% - $30,000 under $40,000
7.4% - $40,000 under $50,000
8.6% - $50,000 under $75,000
9.5% - $75,000 under $100,000
12.7% - $100,000 under $200,000
19.6% - $200,000 under $500,000
24.0% - $500,000 under $1,000,000
24.6% - $1,000,000 under $1,500,000
24.6% - $1,500,000 under $2,000,000
24.3% - $2,000,000 under $5,000,000
23.4% - $5,000,000 under $10,000,000
19.8% - $10,000,000 or more

As you can see, you have to be making about $200,000 or more before the actual average income tax rate exceeds the 15% capital gains tax. That is, on average, people making less than $200,000 pay a smaller percentage of their blood and sweat income as taxes than the 15% capital gains tax. (If you make less than $200,000 and pay more than 15%, you are a statistical anomaly.) The effect you ascribe to the capital gains tax doesn't kick in until about $1.5 million in income, when the actual tax rate begins decreasing. Someone making $10 million or more on average pays roughly the same tax (as a percentage) as someone making $200,000-$500,000.

So what needs to happen is the capital gains tax rate (1) needs to increase if your income is about $1 million or higher, and (2) needs to decrease if your income is less than $200,000. Right now, the 15% capital gains tax rate is so high that it discourages middle- and lower-income people from investing, which is the most direct way to partake in the country's economic growth. And the fruits of the country's economic growth will instead continue to fall mainly in the lap of the wealthy.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"