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Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 617

Oh no, East Germany was less economically oppressive than the Soviet Union, but it still was a planned economy with a few market elements. The outputs of the economy as a whole was dictated by government plans and quotas. Even at its most socialistic, that was never the way it worked in the west.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 617

There was little scarcity actually threatening day to day living in East Germany. They were the most productive eastern bloc economy by far, maybe because they experimented with some market pricing and even permitted some private enterprise.

What there was, was really invasive spying and political censorship, and bad coffee.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 617

Fascism was the one from Italy, remember? It was the nazis with the gas chambers. The fascists were content with torture chambers, executions and shipping the "undesirables" to other countries to do the dirtiest work.

But don't worry, you're not in the torturable class, so it makes little difference for you.

Comment: Re:UK is not a free country (Score 2) 147

by Vintermann (#47426413) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

> Right to self defense

There's a conflict here:

You want freedom of belief/conscience. You may believe some people are conspiring to institute a dictatorship, sometimes that's a right belief. You may believe Tony Blair is a lizard from space, and although that's almost certainly false, no belief about the world may be banned.

But if you have this freedom, you cannot have an unconditional right to self-defense. The reason is that self-defense is based on belief, some belief that you are under threat. That belief may always be wrong. If Tony Blair really was a space lizard about to zap your brain into dust, by the right to self-defense you certainly would be allowed to kill him first.

But that is plainly a delusional belief, you might say. The problem is, who should get to decide whether your fears are justified?

If you say the courts, fair enough, but then you also implicitly deny the right to revolution. You don't allow for the possibility that the government that the court represents may be wrong, or at any case, not that you are entitled to disagree violently with it.

Comment: Re:Good? (Score 1) 273

I'd rather trust a website with a reputation based system, than a taxi driver.

Ah yes, a taxi service (in all but name), with all the reliability and safety of Ebay and PayPal.

Currently existing reputation systems are junk. Companies like Ebay find it more profitable to just sit on their network-effects based hegemony and smooth over the worst failures with PR, rather than making an actually useful reputation system. Reputation systems are much like airport security - to make you feel safe, not actually make you safe.

Comment: Re:Good? (Score 2) 273

I shake my head at the ingress text: "the taxicab industry that currently enjoys regulatory capture"

Some things people should know about Uber: It's backed by Silicon Valley venture capital and Goldman Sachs, to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars.

Yet, it's the self-employed, unskilled labor in the cottage industry of driving taxis that "enjoys regulatory capture". Yeeeeah, right.

The taxi industry is regulated to protect consumers, not drivers. All Uber is, is some rich people who decided that they'd become powerful enough to simply ignore regulations on driving people for profit. When the reality of why that regulation exists comes crashing down. they count on their ideology/PR department to smooth over it, and write new regulation tailored to give them a monopoly.

Comment: Re:1 in 10 adult deaths (Score 1) 454

by Vintermann (#47336461) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

Preventable deaths of adults is the kind of death we should care about because

* While we like kids, they're already pretty good at not dying.
* While we like old people, they've lived a long life and are going to die comparatively soon anyway.
* Non-preventable deaths are hardly productive to focus on.

Comment: $150k? (Score 1) 220

by Orp (#47201737) Attached to: NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

I do most of my research on supercomputers. "Servcie Units" (SU's) are the currency on these machines. They are usually either node hours or core hours. Typical allocations are in the hundreds of thousands to millions of SUs.

I don't know what formula they used to come up with a dollar value. It would be nice to know, however, as I am in academia where real dollar grants get all the attention since they come with that sweet overhead. I'm sure my dean would appreciate the symbolism of getting the college overhead in SU's (and converting them to dollars).

But seriously, these machines are up 24/7 (unless down for hardware fault or maintenance) and while I'm sure they draw more current when the CPU is pegged if this guy was mining bitcoins with his allocation then really all he did was go against the terms of his allocation. Those SUs would have either been wasted or used up anyway. But you just don't mine bitcoin on federal supercomputers, man. Dick move.

I hope he at least used GPU accelerators with his code, the bastard.

Comment: Re:So? (Score 1) 330

Your sig:

"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money."

Think tanks, many on the "left" too, are in it for money. They write to further the economic interests of their backers. Some see the truth as something that must be carefully tiptoed around when it's not beneficial for what they promote. Others just don't give a damn and have decided that any position, no matter how dumb, deserves a defense lawyer as long as they can pay. And if they have to employ the Chewbacca defense or the Shaggy defense, so be it.

GWPF is in the latter category. Pure paid-for hackery. Bengtsson would never have fit in there; he actually believes in what he says on account of his political views.

Comment: Re:you've got male (Score 4, Insightful) 315

by Vintermann (#47012397) Attached to: You've Got Male: Amazon's Growth Impacting Seattle Dating Scene

It is 2014. It is not 1974.

Funny you should say that, as the rate of female computer science graduates was apparently higher back then.

Whatever biology says, we see that the gender ratio varies greatly with time and place. Our biology hasn't changed much since the 70s, so we can at the very least get the gender ratio back to what it was then. Probably, our biology is flexible enough to support pretty much any gender ratio.

This means we can probably change things, if we really go for it. The question is should we? The issue is that a society can score high on gender egalitarianism, and high on opportunities for everyone, and yet that seems only to make people make more traditional choices when it comes to education. What does that mean?

I haven't got an answer. But this is a "should" question - so no naturalistic fallacy, please.

Comment: Hate Variable Air Contraption (Score 1) 216

by Orp (#46998517) Attached to: Who controls the HVAC at work?

I have had an office in three different buildings on campus of my university. The first office was fine. I had a situation in the second building where the noise was in violation of Eurpoean Union standards for noise (I had the level measured with a SPL meter) but a couple of dB too low for OSHA. It was maddening; for months I begged facilities to address the issue. The office suite I was in had been converted from a lecture hall and there was this major HVAC hub above my desk, and it turned out they had the pressure way to high flowing through the vents. I wore earplugs a lot.

In the third building I am in, I have a situation where the temperature fluctuates about 15 degrees F daily. Yes, I measured this and plotted it with a little weather tracker. In this case, the thermostat for the office is located in another office. And the university spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate this old building. I guess that's what happens when you always take the lowest bidder.

I am rather sensitive to noise so I'd rather have the fluctuation temperatures in a quiet office than pleasant temperatures in a noisy office, and I understand that when you remodel you might get weird results like this. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to strangle people.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.