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Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 678

by PuckSR (#49510995) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

I disagree on a couple of points. Electricity is no more scarce than water. The Earth is being bombarded with 77 Petrawatts of solar energy every moment. We could harvest a great deal of that energy as solar/wind/hydro energy. We are not harvesting it. Electricity is not a "finite resource". We currently use fossil fuels(a finite resource) to create the majority of of electricity, but there is no concrete reason for electricity to be linked with a finite resource.

If we desalinate water, it will be sold by the volumetric unit. This creates a market price for water.This will change the water market. This is what you want to accomplish.It might crash and burn rather quickly, but it would accomplish your goal, so why oppose it?

Comment: This all misses the point (Score 1) 113

The GAO report is actually about the cybersecurity of the FAA. The comment about security on the airplane actually starts out by explicitly pointing out that this isn't a problem right now. It MIGHT become one in the future and they aren't satisfied with how the FAA would deal with hybrid system in modern planes. This entire blogpost is a bullshit response to a rather good report.

The GAO simply wants the FAA to increase their cybersecurity. I don't think that is a big problem.

Comment: Re:The name (Score 1) 204

I am reminded of something my accountant friend always tells me: I don't do magic.
Lawyers and accountants are highly trained individuals with a great deal of knowledge. They know a lot of things that you don't know.
However, you probably aren't going to fail an audit just because you didn't use an accountant, as long as you have some idea of how finance works.

Similarly, you aren't going to lose a court case because you don't have a lawyer. An entity can sue you for any reason, however if their claim is entirely false you aren't going to get destroyed in court. The entity's lawyer isn't going to magically produce a legal motion in a foreign language that makes it impossible to defend yourself.

In the end, lawyers are just like car mechanics. They are probably going to do a far better job than you, but they aren't doing any magic. Just applying a significant amount of specialized knowledge.

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 1) 635

by PuckSR (#47910579) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

The US Navy has officially made a statement in which they expect "no sea ice". This means that it will be mostly navigable, but may require ice-breakers or similar because of large ice drifts.
This would only occur during the peak of the summer, and not be a year-round phenomenon.

This is a significant event, but it can quickly get tangled. They are not predicting that there will be no ice at all in the arctic sea for the entire year. The prediction makes sense for meteorologists, but it can be confusing for the average person.

Comment: We need to fix the common ethical dilemma (Score 1) 239

The common dilemma is mentioned in the wired article. It is known as the "trolley problem". It essentially creates a scenario where you need to make a binary choice: kill 5 people through inaction or kill 1 person through action.

If we are going to discuss autonomous cars, I really think we should expand the scenario:
1. You are driving directly at a large concrete barrier at 70mph.(kills 1 person-YOU)
2. Swerve left and you strike a pedestrian(kills 1 person-OTHER)
3. Swerve right and strike a car head-on(potentially kills >1 person)

Why this alternative? It presents a risk to the occupant, which is always going to be a concern for a driverless car. It it less simple than a binary choice, but it illustrates almost all of the ethical issues. Do you value the occupant over others? Do you take a 50% chance of killing 2 people or a 100% chance of killing 1?

Comment: Re:Where do I sign up? (Score 2, Insightful) 327

The CATO Institute reference is laughable.
It is interesting to read their mental masturbation about how multiple cable companies could compete in the same city, each with their copper. While that could technically happen, the diminishing returns of market entry would keep any sane company from entering into the market. Also, since their Utopia would be lacking in ANY government regulation, the larger company would simply purchase the smaller company if it became a threat. Which is EXACTLY what happened.

That paper was written in 1984. Thanks to their argument many places deregulated the cable industry.
Cable prices sky-rocketed. Companies merged. No true competition arrived. Comcast isn't an example of crony-capitalism. Comcast is the result of people like you and the CATO institute blocking government from heavily regulating "natural monopolies".

Why did anyone care in 1984? Because the federal government had just 'regulated' Ma' Bell. They required the company to reduce its sphere of influence and then they required them to allow "virtual competition". Government 'regulation'(in the form of anti-trust rulings) eventually required AT&T to operate as a copper providers, while other companies could operate as service providers. What was the result of all of this government regulation of a natural monopoly? Prices for long-distance calls dropped rapidly. Services were upgraded in many areas that were previously "unprofitable". Technologies that made heavy use of previously existing infrastructure(ADSL) spurred technological advances.

Basically, the best thing for the internet and cable TV would be HEAVY regulation. It might fall under a different name, but it would be regulation because it would be the government imposing its will on the market. If you wanted truly better service you would look to the deregulation of power operators in Texas as a key example. Create 3 specific "tiers": Content providers, network operators, retailers. Require that no company could exist as more than 1. Pay the network operators based on peers and speed. Watch the internet/cable get better rather rapidly.

Comment: Re:Where do I sign up? (Score 1) 327

You don't seem to understand the definition of a "Ponzi scheme".

A ponzi scheme is an investment scam where the "investment returns" are actually the investments of other investors. Investors are being tricked because they think they have invested money. There is no actual investment.
Social security is a public welfare program that is paid via tax revenue. It also includes a tax on earnings to offset the tax expenditure. T

Social Security is not an investment, so it cannot be a ponzi scheme.
Do you think the department of transportation is running a ponzi scheme when they collect gas taxes to pay for road work?

Comment: Re:Flamebait (Score 2) 149

by PuckSR (#46667167) Attached to: TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

Bad analogy.

The NSA didn't tell Cerf not to use this cryptography scheme. Cerf didn't even ask. He was working on a classified research project(NSA cryptography) and working on a unclassified academic experiment(TCP/IP).

I keep fish as a hobby. I have a friend who researches new antibiotics. Do you think my friend's employer is "standing in the way" when he doesn't give me the latest and most potent antibiotics which aren't even publicly available to treat my fish?

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 888

by PuckSR (#46257595) Attached to: Star Trek Economics

Not bollocks.

You are looking at short-term trends. I am discussing long-term trends. Energy production will continue to increase or we face a Malthusian collapse. I don't think that will happen. I think we will develop technologies that circumvent the Malthusian collapse. I wasn't discussing "alternative energies". I was discussing ANY energies.

We have already developed heat engines that would have blown the minds of engineers 100 years ago(they achieve better than 50% efficiency). You are thinking of "wind vs coal". I am thinking of Dyson spheres. Why mention a Dyson sphere? It isn't an actual goal, it is a commentary on the upper limits of power production. Stop getting bogged down in "current technologies". We will have future technologies which are unimaginable. You know why? If you could imagine them now they would be a reality in the present. 100 years ago we were running small combustion engines at efficiency that bordered on 10% and that was a NEW technology that was wildly efficient. Give use another hundred years, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Comment: Serious question (Score 1) 293

by PuckSR (#46257505) Attached to: Psychologists: Internet Trolls Are Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Sadistic

Since when did Machiavellianism come to be defined as a "willingness to manipulate others"? The traditional attribute of "The Prince" is that he manipulated other people for a purpose. Doing it simply for entertainment seems to be a far different thing. If I lied to you to get you to take your medicine, that could be Machiavellianism. If I lied to you because I was a huge dick and wanted to fuck with you, that would seem to be "Assholishianism".

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 5, Insightful) 888

by PuckSR (#46246197) Attached to: Star Trek Economics

I think you are misunderstanding or misconstruing the argument. Post-scarcity doesn't mean that "limited resources" cease to exist. The primary driver of our modern economy(and any new economy) is energy. Energy is becoming rapidly less expensive because of modern technologies. He is arguing that at a certain point we will have to acknowledge that we have enough energy to meet everyone's basic needs. At that point, excess energy can be used to meet everyone's luxury desires. We tend to think of everyone's luxury desires as limitless, but that isn't exactly true. Our appetite for luxury goods is highly pliable. A great example of this would be video games. In the late 80s, you probably would have wanted a lot of Nintendo games. Those were a desirable luxury good. Now, you can acquire all of those games(through illegal and quasi-legal channels) and play them on a machine that costs as much as 2 beers. Yet, you don't play all of those old games. Why not? Your appetite has changed and now you are more than happy to play one new game rather than dozens of old ones. Consider it the "Brewster's Millions" problem.
As far as "limited resources", they will continue to exist. However, we might find that their value and how we assess that value has changed dramatically. Gold will probably be the clearest example. Gold has very little intrinsic value. It is a rare metal, but materials of similar rarity do not approach anywhere near the value of gold in the current market. Tellurium, an element found with gold which is actually rarer, has similarly valuable commercial applications. However, tellurium does not trade for 1/100th the price of gold. In a world where you can have all of your needs met, what use will we have for gold? We only wear it now as a symbol of wealth. If everyone has quasi-limitless wealth, then what point is signaling your wealth? Yes, in the Star Trek economy, gold is still rare. However, since there are few commercial applications for gold, you would see the price drop precipitously.

Comment: Re: including imprisonment? (Score 5, Informative) 158

by PuckSR (#46203221) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

What are you talking about? Imprisoning executives? Do you understand how FCC regulations work?

Very simple. The FCC is the "radiowaves police". If you get pulled over in a brand new car that has a faulty speedometer which is showing your speed as 20 mph slower than reality, the cop is still going to write you a speeding ticket ticket. Sure, it is the manufacturer's fault. The traffic cop's job is to make sure everyone is driving at the correct speed. The traffic cop isn't going to drive back the manufacturer and write them a citation.

The end-user IS ALWAYS responsible for using equipment that interferes. It doesn't matter if he bought it legally. It doesn't matter why the interference is being caused. If you have a transmitter that is causing illegal interference, you are responsible. This just makes sense. Even if they went back to the reseller or manufacturer; that doesn't fix the problem in the "here and now". The only way to fix the immediate problem is to compel the end-user to STOP TRANSMITTING.

The other line moves faster.