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Comment: Re:Ugh, WordPress (Score 1) 31

Seriously, though: aren't WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal the three free open source CMSs? I think Joomla is far more powerful than WordPress in many ways, avoids at least some of the failings of WordPress listed by the OP, and is easier to use than Drupal. I'd like to hear what you and others have to say about the three of them.

Comment: Science fiction comes to life, again (Score 1) 176

by PapayaSF (#48354859) Attached to: The Disgruntled Guys Who Babysit Our Aging Nuclear Missiles

I remember an old story in which someone at one of those bases would periodically stand between the two launch keys, which are intentionally placed far apart so that it takes two people to turn them simultaneously, and try to stretch his arms far enough so that he could launch the missile. Anybody remember what that story was?

Comment: Re:Let's have a $7/gallon fuel tax (Score 1) 334

by PapayaSF (#48345985) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

That book is not going to support your argument, and you know it.

The point is not that taxation is bad, but that corrupt systems of taxation are bad

There is a fuckton of a difference between a high taxation and a corrupt taxation regime.

Wow, way to move the goalposts and accuse me of a bad faith argument, while selectively quoting an Amazon review of a book you have clearly not read. The full sentence you selectively quote is:

The point is not that taxation is bad, but that corrupt systems of taxation are bad and that taxation above a certain level is bound to fail since people will find ways to avoid it . [Emphasis added]

Unlike you, I have read the book. Yes, he talks about corrupt tax systems (e.g. the use of independent "tax farmers" to collect revenue). But no, it's not simply about corruption, and documents many instances of high tax systems being bad. E.g., Crete was a major Mediterranean power that derived a great deal of revenue from taxing traders. Then the relative backwater of Rome offered duty-free ports, traders preferred that, and Rome rose while Crete fell. Hundreds of years later, the Roman empire was huge and taxes were high. When barbarian invaders came from the North, many communities did not resist, because at least their taxes would be lower. Part of the early spread of Islam happened similarly: the Muslims promised lower taxes for conversion, so rather than fight or pay extra tax as Christians, they converted.

Comment: Re:Let's have a $7/gallon fuel tax (Score 2) 334

by PapayaSF (#48341547) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

High taxation as a cause of the fall of civilization is a myth.

Not a myth at all. True, it's not a certainty, but high taxes have often caused societies to fall to civil wars, outside invaders, or simply to decline relative to lower-taxing societies. I highly recommend For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization by Charles Adams for an overview of this.

Comment: Re:drill for oil and frack your land (Score 1) 250

that's what the USA does. most of our oil is from right here and canada

In the USA, landowners generally own the subsurface mineral rights to their land, but in Europe, often it's the government that owns those rights. This makes it easier to stop oil or gas projects than to start them.

Comment: Here's a great method for splitting chores (Score 3, Interesting) 167

by PapayaSF (#48330031) Attached to: New Website Offers Provably Fair Solutions To Everyday Problems

We did this back in college, and it worked great.

  1. – Make a list of all chores that need to be done every week.
  2. – Agree on a point value for each one, with more points for longer or less pleasant chores.
  3. – Divide the total points by the number of roommates, so everyone has X points to do per week.

The real genius of the system then comes in: whoever does their chores first gets to pick which ones to do, and whoever puts it off until the end has to do whatever's left. So there's a built-in incentive to do chores early, and no squabbling, because everyone agreed to the point rankings ahead of time.

Comment: Apple Pay vs. Google? (Score 1) 355

by PapayaSF (#48166627) Attached to: Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

Thank you for that explanation, which got me thinking: Apple Pay could remake the web, in some very good ways. Just expand Apple Pay into the micropayment system I've wanted for over 15 years.

If Apple can "scale this down" (even by losing some money on overhead and transaction costs) and make it painless and worthwhile for a website to charge as little as one cent for something, then many good things happen. I think a vast number of web users would happily click a "1 Cent Apple Pay" button to read the second half of an article or column, or hear a song or a podcast, or watch a funny cat video. If it's good, it's worth one cent. If it wasn't, it was only a penny.

Or think of it as $10 for every 1000 articles read/artworks viewed/songs heard: a trivial expense for weeks or months of web usage for most people, in exchange for the content without registrations, or subscriptions, or pay walls, and without advertising. You know, that annoying stuff you try to block. That stuff that Google sells. (Oh-oh...!)

But this would be much more than a way to drop a pipeline into Google's core revenue source. Creatives and publishers and entrepreneurs of all sorts could just add Apple Pay to a page like a social media button, and then sell or rent their work directly and affordably. One cent transactions may only add up to just a few dollars for some, but what are they making now? Web ads bring them little. Maybe they're happy selling songs for $1, but they might be thrilled by the number of people willing to pay one cent to listen to one song, once.

And it could scale up really well. Charities and activists could raise real money in tiny, painless increments. Even one cent per page view adds up to a big chunk of change for newspapers and magazines that now struggle to survive on advertising and/or subscriptions. I think the New York Times website would be thrilled if their 17 million page views a day made them one cent each: that's over $62 million a year. Or maybe some big players get "greedy," and decide to charge a whole five cents for that big story, or virtual art show, or for your first listen to that new song from your favorite band: a million nickels is $50,000.

Now think of ebook sellers who don't need Amazon any more. Think about PayPal, and streaming music services. And why not Bitcoin via Apple Pay....

I'm sure some of you will see this as a dystopian vision, but I think Apple could do a lot of good and (eventually) make a lot of money with my distributed digital free market daydream.

Comment: Re:best idea: ask for good ideas (Score 1) 352

by PapayaSF (#48166083) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

Politicians often discover that when the issue they wish to move forward is resisted by their peers, they can appeal directly to the public. Explain their plan and encourage input from everyone. If they build enough support among the voters, then their peers may be forced to support the plan as well.

Absolutely true.

Kalil may or may not have support from the White House or anyone, but if he gets a big response to this challenge Obama and others will have to reconsider their reluctance.

Now you're not being cynical enough. I think this challenge is likely to be the result of a direct White House request to come up with some good "news for nerds." I don't think it's a coincidence that we are weeks from an election that Democrats are dreading (publicly or not). It's aimed at a core voting/donating demographic that largely supported Obama but now is ticked off about the NSA, the IRS, government transparency, the Middle East, and a bunch of other things. There's no commitment, it costs little, there's little risk of a downside, and it's even legal and ethical. It's a small but perfect election-season ploy.

But regardless of the political motivation and the odds against a real project resulting from it, I'm still in favor, for all the standard nerd reasons.

MS-DOS must die!