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Comment: Regulate last mile (Score 1) 223

by Stellian (#46681935) Attached to: Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

The free market will yield low competition because providing the service is a strong technical monopoly, similar to electricity, gas and water. The author proposes we treat Internet like a basic utility but this is a bad idea: the municipal internet pipe will soon become outdated, the city council will reject any improvements because "it works good enough for most citizens", a private alternative will emerge and we are back at square one.

Instead of treating internet like a utility, the preferred solution in Europe is to create a public corporation that digs the trenches and channels where fiber and equipment are placed, with equal access for all competing providers. Since the technology evolves quickly, a nimble private investor is much more efficient in upgrading the network and maintaining a competitive speed. The low tech, highly expensive trench or pole can be amortized over a few decades with a flat fee that ISPs can pass on to consumers. It works.

The issue is not choosing between the market and the state, rather we should correct market failures with keyhole solutions that restore competition without creating bureaucratic and governmental behemoths. Municipal internet is probably better than what you have now, but is still an inferior solution.

Comment: Re:name? (Score 1) 62

by Stellian (#46531865) Attached to: UK To Create Alan Turing Institute

Cheap, effective, but maybe incorrect. Seems more like a bullshit proposal from a politician spewing buzzwords he can't understand:

We will found the Alan Turing Institute to ensure Britain leads the way again in the use of big data and algorithm research.
"I am determined that our country is going to out-compete, out-smart and out-do the rest of the world."

The government said that big data "can allow businesses to enhance their manufacturing processes, target their marketing better, and provide more efficient services".

Let's hope some good research can come of this, it's not like basic science research is included in the budget of any corporation. Of course, it's unlikely that any of it will directly help UK, with maybe the sole exception of keeping talented researchers in the country.

Comment: Re:That's capitalism. (Score 1, Troll) 710

I'm a guy and after reading her story I would feel the same if I were in her shoes. This is not a gender problem, this is a people problem.

You would fave picked a fight with the husband of your female boss then quit you job in a hissy fit citing "a sexist culture" ? A people's problem indeed.

I wonder, can we legally go full throttle on this "borz culture" for a tech firm ? It has been proven, time and time again, that despite major effort by the companies to accommodate females they still make up no more than 10% of some firms (most gaming companies for example), and they are still rejected/discriminated/unable to fit in/whatever.

It stands to reason that a firm who openly promotes a male culture, without actively discriminating against females, would be far more productive and retain the best male talent. Unisex lavatory. Alcoholic beverages allowed and provided. Unlimited fastfood allowances. An in-house Bunny Ranch (legal for a Nevada campus). No bullshit anti-discrimination training and assorted brainwashing. Crash couches where you can chill or sleepover if you don't feel like going home. Generous basements for those of us who can't stand direct sunlight anymore. We hire females but they never stay more than a few days, with the exception of the Bunny Ranch of course. Man, I'm excited only typing this, where do I send my CV ?

Comment: Non sequitur (Score 5, Insightful) 381

by Stellian (#46499899) Attached to: <em>Sons of Anarchy</em> Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy

It's so absurd that Google is still presenting itself as the lovable geek who's the friend of the young everyman. Don't kid yourself, kids: Google is the establishment. It is a multibillion-dollar information portal that makes dough off of every click on its page and every data byte it streams. Do you really think Google gives a s**t about free speech or your inalienable right to access unfettered content? Nope. You're just another revenue resource

That may all be true, but that does not change the fact that Sutter is also part of the establishment and also looking at viewers as a revenue stream. Google vs Hollywood are two bears fighting over a beehive, and we are the bees. Pick your side carefully, when the fight is over someone eats the honey and it's not you or me.

Comment: Does not make sense (Score 4, Interesting) 58

by Stellian (#45768311) Attached to: MIT Study: Only 3.1% of USA Used Electronics "e-Waste" Were Exported

criminalize exports of non-shredded displays, cell phones, and computers

I don't see how this makes sense. Shouldn't they criminalize export of waste (ex.shredded electronics) and allow the export of usable office equipment, Pentium 4 computers and first generation flat panels ? That stuff has a high chance of being reused in Africa, it's market value is much above the lead and tin they contain. Reuse is the best form of recycling: a poor family gets a perfectly usable, 4-5 year old computer at 50$, and no waste is generated. My first computer was a second hand unit imported in Eastern Europe from the West. It cost $90, a month of income for my family, I used it for 5 years and it was the best purchase I have ever made in terms of ROI. I am now a software engineer earning a internationally competitive paycheck.

What they are doing is destroying usable electronics and exporting THE JUNK. This must be lobbied by the IT industry, it has nothing to do with environmentalism.

Sure, the second hand computers will eventually end up in the Lagos dump. But so would new ones, after a few more years. So you either deny computers to Africans or you fix the waste management problem. Banning export of USABLE hardware will improve waste problem but massively impact the growth of the African economies, which in turns generates all the other symptoms: bad public finances and public education, corruption, and no environmental policy.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 3, Insightful) 1359

Stupid people voting beats stupid people in tyrannical control any day!

That's a pragmatical and defeatist argument, you are saying that although morons indeed "ruin it for us" in an ideal sense, there's no practical way to reach that ideal. Any practical method to restrict the vote of the morons would come back against "us", so this is the best of all possible realities.

Even accepting that argument as is, I still believe there's some leeway here for smart people: educate the morons by force, ridicule their belifes on every occasion, don't just sit back and take their crap in the name of religious tolerance.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 1359

Life being older than 10.000 years is not a religious issue. If I'd take offense with the people who believe in "guided evolution", then yes, that would be a religious issue.

On the other hand, if you can't grasp the basics fact that underpin biology, geography and human history (to name but a few...), then you are a blithering idiot no mater if you claim to be christian, muslim or atheist.

Comment: Re:Nokia still holds the patents (Score 3, Funny) 83

by Stellian (#40184597) Attached to: Smaller SIM Format Standardized

The new design, being really similar to the old one, also means that Nokia holds the patents for it already.

Here's a radical idea: keep the same electrical interface with the old SIM, arrange the contact pads in a way that makes sense, and simply shrink it in size [patent pending].

Why we are unable to make the most trivial technical advances without the whole thing degenerating in a intellectual property shit throwing contest ? Does anybody still believe this state of affairs promotes the Progress of Science and useful Arts ?

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 5, Insightful) 1359

Religions have doctrines that you follow or you only 'religious' in name only.

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn if these people firmly believe life on earth is less than 10.000 years old, or they are just saying that because they heard it in bible class. The fact is these morons vote, and they are ruining things for the rest of us.

Comment: Re:And also (Score 1) 245

by Stellian (#40180087) Attached to: Ask Candidate Jeremy Hansen About Direct Democracy in Vermont

40-50% of voters regularly show up at elections in my country - sad to say the majority of them do not match the "articulate technical professional" archetypal Slashdot poster. Actually there seems to be quite the opposite: the most inept people show up to vote in the vastest numbers.

Your hypothesis that votes of clueless people are normally distributed and cancel themselves out is pure speculation. The voters are emotionally and financially exposed, wisdom of the crowds does not apply. Should the country run a fiscal a deficit or an excedent ? There may be a systematic bias of the voter base against increasing debt precisely when that is required for pulling the country out of depression. Conversely, cutting the deficit by laying off government employees might be soundly rejected based on self-conservation short term thinking. Lastly, as you say, it's easy for a powerful public voice to sway clueless voters one way or the other. In all these cases, the votes of the tiny minority that understands macroeconomics is simply statistical noise: the public policy will be largely decided by things unrelated to it's long term economic effects.

Comment: Re:What Is Right but Unpopular (Score 1) 245

by Stellian (#40164647) Attached to: Ask Candidate Jeremy Hansen About Direct Democracy in Vermont

you would have to show that there was a group of people who were going to be severely harmed by the continued operation of the schools in such a manner who did not agree with the decision, and that those people had no other options (private schools, homeschooling, etc.).

I think such an interpretation of democracy will ultimately work against the very notion of "society". It will tend to eliminate all types of social welfare: sure, any lower class parent could theoretically homeschool his child. In practice most of them will not, and the children will reach adulthood with no education and no other prospects except harsh manual labor or criminality. This reinforcing cycle will eventually lead to a highly polarized society, similar to capitalism during the industrial revolution.

Conversely a 90% tax on revenues in excess of 100.000$ a year will pass, leading to severe economic contraction and explosion of tax evasion. Can you argue that the minority of high earners who don't agree with the decision have no other options ? Of course not, they are free to earn less or donate their excess revenue to the poor. Their high revenue minority status is a choice therefore by your reasoning they can't claim protection against the abuses of the majority.

Besides protecting actual minorities, an important issue of public policy is creating an inclusive social contract in which the individual choice is maximized. A country where poor people get school subsidies and rich people pay acceptable taxes is a better one for both the rich and the poor. If each policy is decided on the spot by the largest minority the social contract breaks down. Spending more on roads is not a thing that should be decided by counting how many drivers there are among the populace, rather it's a complex political compromise that cannot be decided at the individual level. It's a collective game therefore the best solutions are negotiated collectively, and representative democracy is the bargaining tool.

Comment: Re:And also (Score 1) 245

by Stellian (#40164461) Attached to: Ask Candidate Jeremy Hansen About Direct Democracy in Vermont

Well, I'd love to be in a direct democracy with Slashdot posters. Just looking at the quality of moderation: most of the time they bring up things I either agree with, insightful things that change my view, or things I don't agree with but are nonetheless thoughtful commentaries made by intelligent people who understand the issues.

What I fear is that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of people don't follow current political events; from those who do, even fewer have the analytically tools and critical thinking required to go beyond pop-politics, to understand the implications of budget deficits and bailouts, of foreign policy, of healthcare models. Hell, most of the senators don't understand those. So when you are moving from a self selected community like Slashdot, which includes many articulate technical professionals that gather simply for the pleasure of discussing issues, to the whole voting populace of a country, then yes, I think it's fair to talk about an abstract "people" that may be unfit to govern itself. I'm not saying that's necessarily true, I'm saying the Slashdot sample is not representative for the voting base.

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. -- Billy Rose