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Comment: Re:Tech angle? (Score 1) 880

by Rich0 (#48673139) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

If it's not obvious from that context I'm going to laugh at you a great deal.

On the one hand you're talking about war profiteering, and on the other hand I think you're talking about a government-run helicopter operation, which typically is provided free of charge. I honestly do not understand your analogy here. I'm not suggesting that the army should charge people to airlift them out of disasters. I'm saying that private individuals who have no duty to respond to disasters be allowed to charge for doing so, which results in more assistance being provided rather than less.

I was very obviously providing an example of the unscrupulous preying on the desperate - the entire point of this thread as you know.

Everybody is desperate. Without money we starve, freeze, and so on. The solution to that is basic income so that we can all afford to live, not to create shortages by pricing things below market value. There shouldn't be desperate people in the first place, and with taxes there is no reason we can't afford to take care of everybody.

Comment: Re:Enforcing pot laws is big business (Score 1) 482

by Rich0 (#48672451) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

If more laws were handled at city and state levels and fewer at federal levels, the discussion could be a lot more rational. i.e., there are people who use marijuana recreationally and there are people who carry loaded guns in public. Both of these groups are generally not going around hurting anyone, so I don't have a problem with either of them. However, those should remain two separate groups and it seems reasonable for people to choose one or the other, not both, just like we do with alcohol today.

The problem with this is that US states are not allowed to interfere with interstate commerce, control immigration, etc. So, your model really only works if you have a very liberal mindset of anybody can possess anything they want to possess (no controls on drugs, guns, etc), and no significant amount of socialism.

If you want to ban all guns in your state, then you'll need border controls to prevent the flow of guns from states where they aren't completely banned. If you want to have strong worker protection laws in the manufacturing sector, then you need to be able to charge tariffs on goods produced elsewhere that did not have to comply with those laws. If you want to have basic income, then you need to be able to place tariffs on good produced in places that don't have basic income, and heavily tax anybody who wants to leave your state. All of these sorts of things are prohibited by the US constitution, which is why all these kinds of issues tend to become federal issues.

Comment: Re:Not sure the FDA would be much better... (Score 1) 482

by Rich0 (#48672425) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

The same sort of logic is the reason why there aren't a lot of new painkillers. That and tort issues.

Painkillers save zero lives per year (directly - maybe you could make a hand-waving argument about suicide prevention or something like that). Even the most common and safest ones have some risk of serious side-effects, including death. Thus, looking at it in a simplistic manner, painkillers are almost never of medical benefit.

Now, when you get to quality of life then obviously painkillers make a lot of sense. The problem is that when one person in 10 million takes your pill and dies, and you get sued, you can't point to the millions of people who are happier as a result of taking your fancy pill and use that to justify the occasional death. The result is that people developing painkillers tend to abandon them early in development if there are any issues.

The result is that we have a rather poor selection of painkillers to choose from.

Comment: Re:Who will get (Score 1) 360

by Rich0 (#48671085) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

Companies should be free to hire cyber mercenaries to decimate their attackers. Maybe that's what's going on here? Or maybe they're getting a little US Mil support.

I have this sinking suspicion that this could be the common state of affairs for the Internet's forseeable future -- various unknown parties constantly breaking various things on the Internet, with the rest of us never really figuring out who is doing what to whom, or why.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a global game of Core War, being played on everyone's servers, forever. :P

Tend to agree, though there could be another possible future. Nations get tired of this nonsense and start instituting border proxies. Maybe traffic is unrestricted between nations that agree to punish those who attack on other signatories, and refrain from government attacks (think US+EU and a few others). Countries that don't crack down on hacking get their traffic proxied, with only whitelisted protocols accepted (maybe strict html without javascript, plus images in specified formats chosen for simplicity and checked for standards-compliance, and email subject to a delay to allow for spam discovery and scanning/etc - perhaps without attachments). It would basically be the death of the internet as we know it, and obviously the usual suspects will be all for it.

When what happened to Sony starts happening to many major corporations there will be a lot of talk about changing how things work. From what I've read Sony's security seemed pretty typical for any large company - a firewall against incoming connections, and little else once you get inside. Companies aren't going to want to build a complex security infrastructure internally, let alone really strong measures like isolated networks - it costs a lot and is a lot less useful unless you punch a million holes in it (which diminishes the security). With regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley companies want to be able to account for every hour charged to every project and every mile expensed and every bolt ordered against the bottom line each quarter. Gone are the days when everybody just managed their department on a spreadsheet and cascaded the numbers up the levels. Then you have all the tax nonsense - governments don't like it when the value you declare to customs doesn't match the value you get when you finish doing all your double-irish whiskey with a shot of bermuda rum shell games, and good luck having that happen without about 14 layers of integration. Keep in mind the guys running all this IT stuff are in China next to the guys doing all the hacking on behalf of North Korea in the first place. :)

Comment: Re:It looks like a friggin video game. (Score 1) 345

by mrchaotica (#48664035) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

Also, if young people really were going to favor super accurate realistic imagery why is every selfie and instagram photo on internet put through a ton of filters to make it look like a mix of some old super 8 film from 1968 crossbred with a polaroid photo?

Because people who use social media have no taste.

Comment: Re:Blah (Score 1) 345

by mrchaotica (#48663997) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

It's similar to how the Star Wars prequels could be edited down to one or two actually decent movies

There's absolutely no reason why 20-something years worth of Anakin Skywalker's life pre-Vader couldn't have provided enough worthwhile material for three movies. George Lucas just sucked too much to figure it out.

Comment: Re:Gawd I hated it! (Score 2) 234

by Rich0 (#48662611) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail

Yup. Anymore I check my voicemail maybe once every few months. I don't even look for the red light - I use an IP-phone software and I only fire up the software if webex isn't working or I need to call somebody who isn't on the work IM system.

I don't mind talking to people on the phone at all - that makes perfect sense and I do it all the time. However, leaving messages is a waste of time for the recipient. When I get a message I have to sit there and take notes as they dump a train of thought lacking in important details.

When you send somebody an email you're doing them the courtesy of pre-organizing your thoughts, double-checking what you send, and ensuring it has all the necessary detail.

Oh, and when I get an email that says "please give me a call" you can imagine how fast I get back to them. Give me a problem and I'll get back to you with a solution and we'll both waste less time that way.

Comment: Re:Tech angle? (Score 1) 880

by Rich0 (#48655025) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

If the ticket for the last helicopter out didn't cost $1M, would there even be a last helicopter out?

Yes. The guy that takes advantage is not the same one that has the power to provide the helicopter or not.

How do you figure? Since when does somebody other than the owner of a helicopter have the last word in what it costs to ride the helicopter? If you're trying to make some kind of reference to a government-run helicopter operation, most likely they wouldn't charge anyway. Of course, they'd probably get more people out if the millionaires could get quick service on private helicopters so that the free helicopters could focus on the people left who can't afford a ticket.

Things are getting very grey, even almost black here and considering the content of a historically set novel I'm reading I may start mentioning the modern version of pimps hanging around bus stations to recruit likely girls as an example of where your "pure" economics gets rejected by society. Are you really comfortable with that?

Am I comfortable with what? That society rejects prostitution? It seems about as effective as society's rejection of drug sales. Maybe if the industry were full of reputable companies instead of pimps and such there wouldn't be as many public health issues associated with prostitution.

Have you really considered such implications before posting something like what you have written above?

What implications? I am merely saying that what most people call "profiteering" is simply charging market rates, and it tends to get more services to people when they need them, since if you don't allow the charging of market rates then you get other behaviors like hoarding and shortages (if I can't sell you my cereal stockpile for $1000/box during a famine, maybe I'll just hide my stockpile in the basement since I'd rather not risk running out for a measly $1.50). Blocking free market trades doesn't magically turn everybody into an altruist.

I'm not suggesting that I don't agree with any government regulation whatsoever. In situations where there isn't a free market (large barriers to entry, limited information available to participants, etc) I'm fine with price controls. However, in many of those situations it is better to try to remedy whatever prevents the market from being free and then let the free market take over. For example, rather than trying to regulate the price of a tooth removal (the way this stuff typically happens), it would be better to have a central place where all dentists publish their tooth removal rates, and require them to charge that rate for everybody. Then anybody getting their tooth pulled can just check the website and aggregators could add value like reviews/etc and make it into a marketplace. Competition would quickly drive costs to an efficient level, so chances are your favorite doctor won't charge much more than the market rate anyway. On the other hand, something like trauma care probably would need to be price-controlled since people needing it rarely have the opportunity to shop around.

My point isn't that markets are the solution to everything. My point is just that markets are a very efficient way to align supply and demand and maximize the amount of sales/services/etc. If your service is getting people out of danger, then a market is going to tend to get more people out of danger than other systems. It might very well cost those people more in the process, but you'll get a lot more volunteers helping to rescue people when they stand to profit from it.

Do you care that I consider you dangerously naive but have been hoping for some sort of insight from you anyway?

Not at all. You're welcome to think whatever you want of me.

Comment: Re:How is this a crime (Score 1) 69

No, a chop chop receives the stolen cars (acting as an accomplice of the thief), disassembles them, and then sells the parts.

That part in parentheses is important: if the shop simply bought cars from whoever brought them in and then parted them out, that's a legitimate business.

Of course, cars are a little bit of a bad example because transferring ownership requires registering the title and whatnot. Let's talk about cellphones instead, since they don't: are those automated kiosks in the mall that let you trade in old cellphones illegal? After all, somebody could steal a cellphone and then turn it in at the kiosk. Does that make the kiosk owner a huge criminal?

Comment: Re:How is this a crime (Score 1, Insightful) 69

He was dealing with cash and bitcoin. Nothing else. So which one of those do you claim is illegal?

The person on the other side of the transaction might have been dealing with illegal goods, but that isn't and shouldn't be any of his business. Otherwise, you could make the exact same argument to persecute anyone who, for example, buys a car from somebody on Craigslist who then uses the cash to buy drugs.

UFOs are for real: the Air Force doesn't exist.