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Comment: Re:at&t wasn't welcome anyway (Score 1) 90

If you honestly believe this, it makes me suspect everything else you said.

Well, tough, because it's true. Railroads were suffering from ever increasing property taxes, and the only way they could deal with them was by getting rid of as much property as possible, undermining their network effects. And like I said, it's in part one of the reasons, not the whole reason.

Interestingly most of the reasons you give are not real reasons - the Interstate system being a partial exception (though if that had been it I think the railroads would have survived), but the major ones are:

- Aforementioned tax burdens where taxes were in proportion to area and people served, not income.
- Stifling Federal bureaucracy, making it impossible to reorganize services as population shifts occurred and making cutting routes actually preferable to reorganizations.
- Aforementioned Federal bureaucracy preventing railroads from setting competitive prices. They were forced to sell many services at a loss, even when there was no reason to believe customers weren't perfectly prepared to pay proper commercial rates.
- Zoning reforms that made car ownership mandatory for anyone living in any area developed since the 1940s, plus the (deliberate, in my view) mal-administration of urban centers.

Add union intransigence to the mix, and the occasional mismanagement (Penn Central - if only they'd have let Al Perlman do his job), New Haven, etc) and it was a recipe for disaster.

Comment: Re:@AC - Re:*Yawn* I'll Wait for the Mint Edition (Score 4, Informative) 172

by squiggleslash (#46783191) Attached to: Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr Released

I think the point is neither of these are attacks on the open source community. They're arguably attacks - albeit mere criticisms of - on "GNOME/Linux", but that's not the same thing.

A company contributing bodies and work to a community is helping it, not harming it. It's up to us to decide if we want Mir and Unity. We're not harmed by their existence. And FWIW, anyone arguing that Mir is terrible because it undermines Wayland isn't thinking this through, both because there's a much greater case for saying Wayland is damaging to the future of GNU/Linux, and because Mir has changed the politics whereby Wayland was once an obscure thing nobody was taking any notice of, but Mir basically turned the entire argument from "Should we replace X11 with Wayland?" (Hell no) to "OK, should we use Mir or Wayland [abandonment of X11 is implied to be a settled issue.]"

Comment: Re:Calling people paranoid to silence them (Score 1) 103

by squiggleslash (#46781603) Attached to: RCMP Arrest Canadian Teen For Heartbleed Exploit

I thought we'd moved on past the putting words in people's mouths BS.

1. The paranoia in the original post that I was refering to was the notion that the Canadian press had concocted a headline with the intention of providing a world wide news story that would make everyone think that Heartbleed isn't a story. I don't know where the fuck you get any other interpretation from.

2. I haven't apologized for censorship anywhere, neither in the comment you quote, nor anywhere else. The fact you think that Eich was targeted for his views rather than for being an ass about them doesn't make it true, it just makes you another idiot who puts their fingers in their ears and cries "la la la" when anyone tries to explain the truth to them.

Actually refusing to listen to what someone has to say is one thing. Inventing an entire story about what you wish they said and believed isn't just arrogant, it's a sign of a serious mental problem. Get help.

Comment: Re:No, just gives us a new way to hide it (Score 1) 318

Steinbeck is a good bookmark to use, because it's at that point there was a change in perception, not because of Steinbeck per-se (but he helped), but because the Great Depression focussed attention on the fact that "failure" was possible for people of all types, and such failure could be disastrous not merely for the individual affected, but for their friends, families, and the overall health of the economy.

The result was that between FDR/Bevan and Reagan/Thatcher there was a dramatic shift in social attitudes towards government provided welfare, the introduction of safety nets, and the creation of systems at every level designed to prevent homelessness from happening and ensure those who became homeless anyway had somewhere to turn.

So your point is sort of valid, but doesn't change the fact that we were on a pro-empathy trend that reversed in the 1980s. Which, after all, is what this story is about. And like I said, it makes more sense to look at the way politics has changed over the last three decades than whether the Commodore 64 would cause someone to think "That homeless person is there because of their own bad decisions, and therefore I don't care and they should live in misery".

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 284

by squiggleslash (#46779221) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

I'm not trying to be mean, but I don't think he has any case for promotion under those circumstances.

Yes, I'm aware it looks like the committee was staffed with "idiots", that is, people whose expertise was necessary for the committee to function but wasn't technical. His job was to provide the technical expertise, and to make the committee aware of the technical implications of what they were deciding upon.

He failed. Maybe it was because they really were idiots. More likely, he didn't have the political, persuasive, and perhaps even conversational skills necessary to persuade a group of non-technical people what the implications were of what they were asking for.

Either way, the committee made recommendations his job was to prevent.

Now the purpose of a promotion is to put you in a position where your political skills can be used more directly to steer the direction of an organization. If someone has poor political skills, they're going to botch that job, and their organization will be hampered, not helped, by their promotion.

As nerds we tend to be a little technocratic in our viewpoint and think that organizational structures work with the most knowledgable person at the top. They don't. What matters is that as people rise within an organization, their skills tend towards listening, delegating, and communicating difficult ideas. We're seen at least one case recently where geeks went in a rage because someone with zero skills in those areas got promoted, and then kicked out, because a particular incident that required their skills to be top notch was completely botched. The tech community refused to believe that and decided it was because the person had disagreeable opinions instead.

But that's the way the world works. And promotions need to be given to people suited for particular roles in an organization, not as rewards because you were vindicated after the fact, rather than able to convince people to stop a disaster from occuring to begin with.

Comment: Re:No, just gives us a new way to hide it (Score 1, Flamebait) 318

Moreover it's clear there's been a shift in politics that's been particularly acute since Reagan and Thatcher, where values once parodied (not even entirely common at the time) by Charles Dickens, but advocated by, say, Ayn Rand, have steadily become more mainstream. These values are actively hostile towards people who have "failed" in their lives. And those views have been pushed constantly by a certain small group of extremists who, over time, have become more and more mainstream as other views - not directly related to the "If you can't kick a man when he's down, how are you going to be able to kick him when he's standing up" ideology - they've become associated with have become more popular.

I think blaming technology for the shift is a stretch. The view may have started to rise just as the personal computer revolution began to take shape, but why on Earth would anyone think the invention of the Commodore 64 or the Atari ST would shape someone's view on homelessness?

Comment: Re:at&t wasn't welcome anyway (Score 4, Insightful) 90

You're assuming that the taxpayer getting as much money directly from a sale as possible is in some way legitimate government policy.

The government is not a business and the "taxpayer" has more interests than simply short term reduction of their taxes. In particular a lower cost of living, something we'll get if there's better competition and if we don't force businesses in general to have absurd unnecessary costs, is likely to benefit us more.

Short term "maximizing direct revenues from auctions" thinking is what got us into the stupid situation where spectrum auctions are geographic, resulting in decades of overpriced, poor quality, cellular service. It's also part of a mentality that's undermining every attempt to have the private sector provide quality infrastructure in the first place, usually at great social and economic cost to the rest of us. The same idiocy, practiced through property taxes, is in part why the entire railroad system in the US collapsed in the 1960s and 1970s.

We need to get away from that kind of thinking, and start looking at cost of living issues rather than what tax rate we can get away with.

Comment: Re:Government picking favorites (Score 1, Interesting) 90

Saying "Those with money can run amok" is also picking favorites. This is about trying to get some fair criteria in for ensuring a large group of telecommunications companies will have enough spectrum, a publicly managed and limited resource.

I'm not always a fan of the way the FCC does things. The insanity of making spectrum geographic, for example, simply because that would maximize revenues when auctioning them, cost the US a decade or more of high prices and abysmal service. But this rule seems entirely reasonable.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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