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Comment: Re:Thieves looking to steal metal? lolwut? (Score 1) 127

by Rich0 (#49153485) Attached to: Vandalism In Arizona Shuts Down Internet and Phone Service

The answer to fixing this problem is to require scrap metal dealers to be licensed (with strong penalties for anyone who isn't) and to require all transactions to be recorded along with the ID of the seller. Its already done in many jurisdictions for pawn shops (where you need a license to operate one and where sellers have to provide ID when they sell it, why should scrap merchants be any different.

They should also have a delay before payout, with appointments required for the time to pick up the money. I imagine that even a one week delay would be enough to allow utilities to track down sales of stolen goods, and then the police can be waiting when the guy shows up to collect.

Stuff like this isn't going to be a problem for anybody legit. Electricians aren't going to trips to the dealer to sell one coil of wire, and be desperate for their $50.

Comment: Re:Nothing important. (Score 1) 201

by Rich0 (#49131609) Attached to: What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

In the event of a global collapse, these people will simply carry on as before.

If civilization collapses, there will be a reason that it collapsed. Such as a pandemic disease, crop destroying volcanic eruption, asteroid impact, nuclear winter, or runaway greenhouse effect. In any of these events, Africans will not "carry on as before". They will be the hardest hit, because they have nothing to fall back on.

Agree with this. The middle of Africa won't care if there are worldwide blackouts, as long as everybody has their plot of land to grow crops on. That kind of disaster will be very hard on the industrial world when you can't get food into your cities. On the other hand if the problem is that there are more bodies to feed than local land to feed them on, then the people of Africa will have a real problem on their hand, and will probably solve it by killing each other off until it is no longer a problem, since historically that is what tends to happen in these situations anywhere.

Comment: Re:Sounds good (Score 1) 592

by Rich0 (#49127771) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

At the general election level; yes, you'd need a constitutional amendment. At the party primary level, however, such a system as you describe would be incredibly helpful, and probably for all parties.

How? A proportional representation system only works if you have multiple people elected into an office for any particular constituent.

The Republicans can't nominate 100 different people for the 3rd congressional district in Florida. Well, I guess they could, but then the first past the post system would practically guarantee that none would be elected, and that is why they only nominate one.

In a proportional system the Republicans would offer a prioritized list of 435 representatives for the entirety of the US House, and then their members could use proportional voting to decide who ends up in what slot. Then in the general election the Republicans would be awarded some number of seats, and the top n candidates would take office.

The president would still lead to the usual deadlock if separately elected since it is one man in one office. The only real solution to that is to replace the office with a prime minister, which is of course how most democracies handle the situation. That would require an amendment as well, and probably a rewrite of half the constitution.

Comment: Re:Sounds good (Score 1) 592

by Rich0 (#49127407) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Well, the real problem is a first-past-the-post election system, combined with only having one candidate elected to any particular office for any particular voter. This happens both at the general and party levels.

If you allowed each voter to elect a few hundred candidates, out of a much larger pool, using a proportional system, then you'd get a legislative body that better reflected the diversity of political views.

But, that would also require a constitutional amendment that serves neither of the parties in power, so you'll never see it happen.

Comment: Re:Bring on the lausuits (Score 1) 592

by Rich0 (#49127305) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Yes, let's not have any rules or oversight on "people" who were born in a lawyer's office, can potentially live forever, are motivated purely by greed, and will gladly break the law when it suits them. What could possibly go wrong?

That is a ridiculous assertion. There is no way they'll break the law, simply by virtue of the fact that without rules and oversight there won't be any laws for them to break.

Now get out there and sign some contracts of adhesion to help out the economy so that the big companies can spend more on lobbyists!

Comment: Re:Cancer just doesn't have that "it" factor!! (Score 1) 96

by Rich0 (#49096205) Attached to: Researchers Block HIV Infection In Monkeys With Artificial Protein

Ultimately, it is the immune system that keeps your body free of cancer. Cancers happen frequently in your body, and the immune system beats them down. When it fails at that for some reason, only then does clinical disease happen.

You could make the same argument about MANY functions within your body. There are many different mechanisms in cells that work to prevent uncontrolled cell growth. There are many controls on the cell cycle which have to fail. The tumor needs to create demand for more blood vessels to sustain growth. The tumor has to evade the immune system, etc.

It seems like cancer is the flip-side of multicellular life, and as a result humans have many different mechanisms for preventing it. Only when they all fail do cancers form. The problem is that you have billions of cells independently dividing and every time they do there is an opportunity for more mutations to creep in. Sooner or later any level of redundancy is bound to fail.

Comment: Re:"Difficult to install" == "Difficult to compete (Score 1) 149

by Rich0 (#49090887) Attached to: Google Faces Anti-Trust Probe In Russia Over Android

The big problem you have is that more and more apps are building on the Google APIs, so beyond replacing gmail or the calendar, you have a big compatibility problem.

I'll agree with this. I don't like the way Google is handling the whole Play Services thing.

I like the idea of having an auto-updated component of the API that works across OS versions. That is what is causing everybody to use it.

What I don't like is that this is closed-source and bundled with all the Google-specific stuff.

They really should have two pre-installed apps. One is called Google Play Services and it is EXACTLY that - APIs related to the Play store, or maybe some other Google-specific APIs as well (ones that don't fit into a specific app, like authentication and so on). That app can be closed service.

The other app should be some kind of Android Extensions app which is purely FOSS, and this provides stuff like webviews and all the logic you want to be easy to update. It shouldn't be tied to Google at all, other than Google being the main contributor. Being FOSS everybody could of course use it.

Comment: Re:"Difficult to install" == "Difficult to compete (Score 4, Insightful) 149

by Rich0 (#49087807) Attached to: Google Faces Anti-Trust Probe In Russia Over Android

So your saying that despite the fact that Google already provides an open source version of their OS

They don't have an open source version of their OS. That is, the open source version is limited, and missing a lot of functionality.

The only functionality it is missing is the stuff that yandex is complaining about Google bundling.

No, you don't get the automatic Google account provisioning in AOSP. Or Google Play. Or GMail. Or Google Calendar. etc.

Just what do you think a Google-less android would look like?

I don't get the complaint. The non-Google parts of Android are FOSS. Other companies even have made competing forks of it as a result. If MS had done the same thing with Windows back in the 90s there would have been no need for an antitrust lawsuit. If you wanted Windows without IE you could just recompile it yourself, and even sell it if you wanted to.

Comment: Re:Big Data (Score 1) 439

by Rich0 (#49075749) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?

Sure. I don't really see a future for the traditional battleship. I think that if it does have a role that it makes more sense to have a fairly generic ship with a big stack of guns on it at far lower cost. The ship is going to sink if anything hits it regardless, so it doesn't need 18" of steel armor and all that nonsense.

Comment: Re:Submarines are the undisputed... (Score 1) 439

by Rich0 (#49066749) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?

Just a minor nit with the whole Millennium Challenge. Is there any kind of cite for the whole "cheating" business?

I'm aware that the scenario was restarted and run to a US victory. That doesn't necessarily mean that lessons were not learned.

What is the alternative? Send everybody home on day 1 and not practice any of the other stuff planned out for the rest of the week? My sense was that things were restarted so that everybody could still get the planned objectives out of the event, even if an unplanned lesson was learned on day 1.

But, I'm sure the military industrial complex is still more than happy to promote expensive solutions that won't work all the same.

Comment: Re:MH370 (Score 1) 439

by Rich0 (#49066675) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?

Considering a US built plane has disappeared without trace, one would expect them to be very interested...but alas no.

Well, the failure mode seems likely to have included the crew, which is a failure mode that is almost impossible for a manufacturer to guard against, and US-operated aircraft tend to run satellite telemetry which would have avoided the disappearance bit of this as well.

Of course it would be better if the thing were found and the questions were answered. It just seems a bit much to blame the US for not doing anything about it. I wouldn't be surprised if the US snooped around with subs or whatever just as an exercise, but of course they're not going to talk about that if they did, and if they had found something then most likely the US would have let people know about it somehow (maybe a US surface ship might just happen to pick up something on sonar in the area or whatever).

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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