Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re: Authority (Score 5, Interesting) 135

Does the FCC even have the authority to do that? Under what legal theory does an unelected federal regulatory commission have the authority to overrule state government laws on matters of state government interest? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see such laws go, as they're a major competition inhibitor, but how does the FCC have any authority in this?

Congress has clear authority to regulate interstate commerce, under the Constitution. Unlike some other things Congress has tried to regulate, it is very clear that the Internet is interstate commerce.

Having said that, the question that remains is whether Congress can delegate their lawmaking authority to some government bureaucracy. The correct answer to that question is probably no. But I know there are many people who would argue that point.

The last time the courts ruled on this, the ruling was that the FCC had ceded power and couldn't claim it back without the will of god. Or Congress, or something.

Not even close. The Supreme Court ruled that the FCC could not impose the rules it had tried to impose, BECAUSE it had not classified internet companies as Title II common carrier communications companies. So what the FCC did here, quite properly (if you accept that they have any authority to do it at all), was to re-classify internet providers as Title II common carriers.

There are many implications to this that people haven't been discussing much. It depends on the exact language of the rules when they go into effect. But the OLD rules for Title II common carriers stipulated that your communications can't be legally "intercepted" without a warrant. So deep packet inspection by ISPs is probably out the window.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 362

It is a big fucking deal because there are long running threads of economic thought which oppose capitalism yet support free markets, and to conflate the two (and equivalently to conflate socialism with a command economy) creates a false dichotomy between capitalist free markets and statist socialism, ignoring and erasing the possibilities of non-capitalist free markets and non-statist socialism.

You're arguing against something I didn't even say. Why?

I'm not going to even bother dignifying the rest with an answer. I didn't see anybody dispute any of this so there is no point in arguing about it.

Comment: Re:stop the pseudo-scientific bullshit (Score 2) 79

by Jane Q. Public (#49156129) Attached to: Mysterious Siberian Crater Is Just One of Many

Imagine a large pocket of methane suddenly bursting free under some pressure. It would only take a little spark to set it off. For example, throw some stones onto some other stones. Just two stones hitting each other would make a nice spark etc.. That would easily create some big holes.

It doesn't usually work that way. If it did, we'd have far more fires and explosions in homes that heat with gas.

When gas leaks, the vast majority of the gassed area has too high concentration of gas, and too low concentration of oxygen, to burn. Further out, it's too much air and too little gas. It is only at the "interface" between those two conditions that combustion is possible, and relatively speaking that's a miniscule volume compared to either the "air" volume or the "gas" volume at any given time.

In addition to that, if ignition does occur, usually only that small volume with the ideal mix burns, leaving (again) a volume of too-high concentration, and another too low. Explosions can alter that by chaotically mixing the gas with the surrounding air, and multiplying itself. But that seldom happens.

To sum it all up: gas fires and explosions are not very common, because conditions have to be nearly ideal at the precise spot where the ignition takes place. They happen on TV vastly more often than in real life.

Comment: Re:Poor choice of example (Score 2) 286

by Jane Q. Public (#49155967) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

Japan didn't want to enter a war with the US.

Sorry, but this re-writing of history won't work here.

Japan very much wanted to go to war with the United States. Almost the sole standout was Admiral Yamamoto. His quote about awakening a "sleeping giant" has never been substantiated, but it matters very little because nobody listened to him.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 2) 362

Adam Smith wrote about free markets. Capitalism is something above and beyond a free market, first written about by Marx, who argued it was an inevitable consequence of free market and used that to criticize free markets.

You're arguing terminology over substance. Modern economists acknowledge that it was Smith who pretty solidly defined what we call "capitalism" as a socioeconomic structure. He didn't use the WORD "capitalism", but he defined everything we currently call free-market capitalism today.

Marx called it "captitalism". But we already knew what it was. Big fucking deal.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 362

Why didn't you just write "You're wrong, fuckface"? - It's much clearer yet equally vacuous.

I didn't write that because the argument I did make has demonstrable history and facts on its side. I'm not in the habit of making vacuous comments, although we are all well aware your opinion has frequently been otherwise.

I don't claim to be perfect. I've made mistakes here and admitted them when they've been pointed out to me. But unless I made a recognizable blunder, I won't admit to being wrong unless someone actually shows that I am. Insults don't quite make it over that line.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 4, Interesting) 362

If we're going to define capitalism as what was laid out by Adam Smith in On the Wealth of Nations (generally considered to be the founding document of capitalism), it certainly didn't praise corporate greed. Adam Smith takes a lot of time to bash on corporations, and how they need to be regulated. Not just that they need to be regulated, but exactly the manner in which they need to be.

Agreed. If we're discussing "Adam Smith free-market capitalism", Smith laid out the need for a solid body of antitrust law way back then. He recognized that free markets could lead toward monopoly, but wrote that this is where the government's role started: to enforce antitrust laws, which keep everybody on the same level playing field.

Since the government has hardly been enforcing the antitrust idea AT ALL, much less well, the logical conclusion is that this situation is not Adam Smith free-market capitalism. Which is what most people mean when they say "capitalism", regardless of technical details.

But it's very obvious that over the last couple of decades, government has thrown much of the antitrust baby out with the other regulatory bathwater, as it were. Not very long ago at all, a merger like Comcast and TWC would have been just laughed at, and never considered at all. For very good reasons.

BUT... I also want to say that GP here still missed the point. The person I was replying to implied that the problem was capitalism. My reply was that the very same problem (and I'll say here: even worse) occurs in other systems. Therefore the root problem can't be capitalism, per se. It must be something else. The obvious "something else" is cronyism. GP essentially just said "bullshit" while making no argument of his own.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 362

Actually, it has to do with Franchise agreements between _______ cable and the local municipalities, which is NOT Capitalism, but some bad version of utility.

That's certainly part of the problem.

I'm all for free market. But unfortunately, we haven't had a competitive market for broadband on ANY level, not just the local level, for some time now. It might have started out locally, but that was a long time ago. The time to fix the local problem was then.

Now it's a problem throughout the country, with a small handful of companies controlling 80% of the United States. That's not a local problem anymore.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 362

It's monopoly capitalism. Not all capitalism is free-market capitalism. Technically they aren't lying.

No, I stick by what I said above. GP blamed the problem on capitalism. But the very same problem occurs in other socioeconomic systems. Therefore it isn't caused by capitalism. The situation may be a variant of capitalism, but that's a different argument.

Avoid strange women and temporary variables.