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Comment Re:Easy (Score 1) 381

I've never seen a serious, credible libertarian advocate pure absolute 100% anarchy, just like I've never seen a serious, credible businessperson advocate 100% unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism. What I have seen is such people making arguments for a step closer to those things, an alteration or rethinking of the current balance or list of priorities.

What I've seen time and time again is that "libertarians" vocally object to regulation that hurts their profits and government programs that don't benefit them, and are very quiet about regulation and programs that do benefit or protect them.

See: industrialists who want to dump shit in the local river, but also want the police to bust down the doors of someone who is making copies of their widgets.

See: rich people who don't want social welfare programs, but want the city to plow their private drive.

See: the handicapped guy at my local makerspace whose rear window is covered in libertarian/Ayn-Randian stickers, but parks in the handicapped parking spot, and filed a complaint with the state when his space wasn't cleared fast enough last year, costing the makerspace $6,000 in fines.

See: rural residents who hate "tax and spend liberals" and demand their representatives vote against any sort of social programs or things that benefit cities.....but live in revenue-negative states and are more than happy to take from the public till for the thousands of miles of roads one or two people a day drive down, huge fancy new medical and community centers, etc...not to mention the massive farm subsidies. Rural politicians survive mostly by pointing a grubby finger at other politicians for supporting programs that don't benefit Joe Midwesterner, while quietly making sure Joe has smooth roads everywhere he drives his assault-vehicle-sized pickup and a nice football stadium for Joe's kids to play in, and the shiniest fire trucks with NBC gear in case the "towelheads" decide to dirty-bomb his town.

(Seriously: DHS pays for fire trucks in the middle of nowhere to get positive-pressure, nuke/bio/chem filtration systems. It's insane.)

These "baby with the bathwater" excuses for argumentation really get tiresome. They don't remotely represent what any thinking person actually believes. Thus, they are strawmen.

And you've created your own strawman: libertarians who don't act out of pure selfishness.

Comment Minecraft? Secret? Huh? (Score 1) 842

The dude was head of a company that made one of the top-selling software packages of all time. He sold the company to Microsoft.

When someone googles your name and they get "minecraft creator sells to MS for $2BN", there is no way to not tell people.

Furthermore, when you're worth that kind of money, you *have* to change your lifestyle for personal safety.

Comment Not in Gmail; images are cached (Score 3, Interesting) 294

Gmail caches any images in an email, and serves them through their own servers, in order to prevent tracking bugs from having any effect.

The greater concern for me is what happens when you hover over a link that causes action by virtue of the URL being hit? I assume they must have done some filtering-out GET URLs, but...what about URLs that are prettified? Jesus, this is such a bad idea all around.

Comment And if you're not BoingBoing? (Score 2) 104

It's amazing that Doctorow is so thick as to not understand his privilege.

The FBI agent probably dropped it as soon as he realized who Boing Boing was.

Your average home user or small business running a tor exit node is not going to be treated with anywhere near that kind of kindness.

Comment It was a BlackHat / DEFCON publicity stunt (Score 2) 26

Hackaday is pretty much spot on:

There's always posturing for PR before BlackHat and DEFCON. This was to get the researcher's name on people's radar.

Many a competent unix sysadmin could come up with something similar.

What's hilarious is that despite how easy it would be to make something like this, the "researcher" just bought a yagi antenna and posed for a picture. They didn't even bother to point the yagi antenna towards the ground, for that matter.

Comment Physics called... (Score 2) 549

It's preferable for the car that is struck to not release its brakes. Basic physics. The more the struck car moves, the more injuries from the passengers in it. Also, the struck car moves and hits another car, etc.

The struck car's momentum is what mitigates the impact for its occupants. Ideal would be deploying a system to keep the struck car from moving at all. Mercedes has a braking system they've been testing that would probably do the job. It's basically an airbag on the bottom of the car, with a very high friction surface.

Comment Europe has also had wire transfers (Score 4, Interesting) 294

Wire transfers are extremely common in Europe; virtually instantaneous, cheap, etc. Customers can do them themselves, person to person.

Here in the US? Anywhere from a day to WEEKS for absolutely no legitimate reason. You generally need a teller or branch manager to do it. At least $5; $40 if the transaction ends up going through the Fed.

It's 2015. Why does transferring money in the US take more than a minute and a few cents?

Comment actual stats: 35k trips, 80k miles a day (Score 3, Informative) 100

Most Citi bikes go ununsed as far as I can tell.

You tell wrong. There are 6,000 bikes in the system and there's roughly 35,000 daily users.

I personally would've rather seen cleaner, faster, quieter and more reliable subways than more advert-bikes. But it's not so sexy for citibank to donate a tiny fraction of the MTA's budget for some billboards/posters.

Thank goodness we have urban transit planners, people with degrees in this stuff. They are heavily, heavily pushing bicycle transit and bike shares. Not because it's 'sexy', but because it works.

You can plop down a bike share station in a matter of days or weeks (the biggest hassle are the community meetings) which affords enormous flexibility; it takes months to redo a bus route, and decades to plan a subway line. Bike share bikes convert a fair number of people over to bike ownership, too - and the presence or more bike riders on the city's streets makes the streets safer for everyone.

Comment Re:Don't give money to your alma mater. (Score -1, Troll) 348

Not only am I well aware of how an endowment is operated -- this is a regular topic of faculty meetings, for god's sake

Then don't say ignorant things like this:

"A bit of data: Harvard's endowment amounts to $1.7 million per student. With a reasonable return on endowment investment, hey could quite literally abolish tuition forever if they wanted to"

You could also demonstrate some basic knowledge on the subject by showing that you understand "Harvard University" isn't "undergraduate" - that's Harvard COLLEGE. Here you go again:

A 3.5% return on Harvard's 1.7 million per student endowment would give an annual income of $60,000, which is equal to Harvard's tuition plus room and board.

Why do you think room and board at Harvard College is $60K?

What do you think will happen when you direct all the investment income into student tuition and board?

Well? Here's a big hint (oooo, am I being "condescending" again?): paying everyone's tuition via the investment income doesn't change REVENUE. So what pays for all the things the endowment income WAS paying for, but isn't anymore?


Well, Mr. Fucking I Teach Physics? Ever heard the expression "rob Peter to pay Paul"?

Comment Re:Don't give money to your alma mater. (Score 0) 348

A bit of data: Harvard's endowment amounts to $1.7 million per student. With a reasonable return on endowment investment, hey could quite literally abolish tuition forever if they wanted to.

"Full disclosure: I'm a professor at a liberal arts college whose endowment per student is mediocre at best.

Clearly not a professor of finance, math, etc. given you don't understand that investment income on the endowment is what the school uses to help with operating and capital expenses. You avoid at all costs spending the endowment; you spend some of the investment income. Or, to put it in simpler terms a "liberal arts professor" might understand: selling the cow instead of the milk has enormous long-term impact.

Also, given Harvard is older than the United States (in fact, older than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) - "forever" is a really strong word.

Harvard has a huge number of full-boat scholarships and when the endowment tanked, none of the schools dropped their scholarship levels. Several raised them.

In space, no one can hear you fart.