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Comment: Re:Why not send out best tool which is people? (Score 2) 141 141

It is great to have the rovers on Mars, but a team of say 5 astronauts in 2 weeks could have accomplished at least as much as all the rovers did.

The rovers require large support teams on Earth. Is it really worth keeping personnel on for a decade to do what could be done in a few weeks?

Robots may be the answer, but right now they really suck when they are out of range of immediate control.

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 2) 141 141

It works just if you removed taxes on work and income and replaced them completely with taxes on property. It is logical that this will cause people to behave in ways that are suboptimal for society as a whole.

Just be aware that income taxes ALSO cause people to behave in ways that are suboptimal for society as a whole. The proper solution is to try to spread the tax load over income/consumption/pollution/property/inheritance/... in such a way that overall harm is minimized. Most governments do so but obviously with very different emphasis on which tax they prefer.

Moderate inflation tends to be correlated with decent economic growth. Printing money is a completely valid way to pay for a part of the government budget. Alas, a fairly small part in normal economic times.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 834 834

Yes, the main problem with the modern attack aircraft is that no one wants to buy a light bomber, even though that is what they need.

The F-35 has lousy payload for a light bomber, especially when stealthy and supercruising (nothing mounted on the external hardpoints). The alternatives are about equally crappy, except for the F-22 which is completely hopeless. At least the F-22 has a role where it is supposedly good, when it isn't busy killing its pilot.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 4, Interesting) 834 834

Drone pilots don't seem to have much of a conscience either. They are far removed from the action, the consequences, less involved.

Drone pilots suffer at least as much from PTSD as regular pilots. However, their work environment is tailored to ensure that their kill performance is excellent. If a pilot who is in a plane does not take a shot, it seems to be considered more of a judgement call based on what they saw, whereas if a drone pilot fails to take a shot, all the video evidence is there to go through in the debriefing. Those who fail to perform or who want to leave the assignment are threatened with dishonourable discharge.

Do not judge them as people without conscience. They are victims too.

Comment: Re:This policy is ridiculous (Score 1) 290 290

In many places, using a forged document is a crime. In Denmark at least it has a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison. It is possible that the interaction with Facebook does not actually involve a legal agreement, and so the law would not apply, but I would hate to rely on that argument in court.

Comment: Link summary wrong (Score 4, Insightful) 348 348

convincing banks to create securities of sub-prime mortgages he could bet against

The article does not say that he did that. Instead, the article says that the banks bought insurance against mortgage defaults (credit default swaps), and that prices of such insurance was very low. John Paulson decided the price was too low compared to the risk, so he bought a lot of the same insurance. When the mortgages started defaulting and prices for insurance went up, he sold the insurance on to the banks at a profit.

If there had been a hundred John Paulsons out there, credit default swaps would have gone up in price much earlier, forcing the mortgage lenders to rein-in their subprime lending, thereby either defusing the crisis entirely or at least making it much less bad. Alas, there was only one, and he was good at not getting the word out, so not many copycats. John Paulson did everyone a service and should be rewarded, not punished. The people who lend out money to people who had no chance of paying back should be punished, not rewarded.

Anyway, I have not read other articles about him, so maybe he does deserve his apparently terrible reputation.

I am somewhat surprised that it has fallen to me to defend a 1%'er. This is not exactly my usual modus operandi.

Comment: Re:Cost effectiveness (Score 2) 116 116

In many places electricity is taxed or high distribution tariffs apply. When you combine that with low feed-in tariffs, those with solar panels have a strong incentive to use their own power rather than export and import power.

Thus, it is cost effective to store energy for the consumer, not for the power companies -- and sometimes it is cost effective for the consumer to store energy expensive high-demand power from the middle of the day and use it during the night when power is otherwise cheap. Some power companies are investing in batteries to do the exact opposite, of course.

In the grand scheme of things there are larger fish to fry when it comes to tax and tariffs though, where the interests of society do not align with the incentives provided to individual people. E.g. it is rather stupid to tax labour, which is a clean and beneficial way to improve our society, instead of resource consumption which causes pollution and poverty.

+ - SF Says AdWare Bundled with Gimp Is Intentional-> 5 5

tresf writes: In response to a Google+ post from the Gimp project claiming that "[Sourceforge] is now distributing an ads-enabled installer of GIMP", Sourceforge had this response:

In cases where a project is no longer actively being maintained, SourceForge has in some cases established a mirror of releases that are hosted elsewhere. This was done for GIMP-Win.

Editor's note: Gimp is actively being maintained and the definition of "mirror" is quite misleading here as a modified binary is no longer a verbatim copy. Download statistics for Gimp on Windows show SourceForge as offering over 1,000 downloads per day of the Gimp software. In an official response to this incident, the official Gimp project team reminds users to use official download methods. Slashdotters may remember the last time news like this surfaced (2013) when the Gimp team decided to move downloads from SourceForge to their own FTP service.

Therefore, we remind you again that GIMP only provides builds for Windows via its official Downloads page.

Note: SourceForge and Slashdot share a corporate parent.
Link to Original Source

+ - Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer-> 11 11

An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.

Link to Original Source

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.