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Comment Re:Much todo about zip--ConsoleKit2 is also suppor (Score 1) 328

FWIW, I have not seen any advantages to systemd, and I have not heard of any advantages that I would personally find advantageous. And there do seem to be potential problems.

E,g, faster boot times don't impress me at all. I'd be more impressed by longer up times. I find binary logs dubious, and many people have reported problems with them. Etc.

I have not personally had any actual problems with systemd, but it's not clear how I'd resolve them were they to occur.

So I'm both dubious about the advantages and worried about possible disadvantages. Sufficiently so that if a BSD supported the ext4 file system I would have a test installation running. But not yet sufficiently to reformat my file systems.

Comment Re:Many a young engineer.... (Score 2) 71

... every schematic drawn by every semiconductor engineer got the arrow backwards.

As I heard it, The arrow is "backward" because Benjamin Franklin, when doing his work unifying "vitreous" and "resinous" electricity as surplus and deficit of a single charge carrier (and identifying the "electrical pressure" later named "voltage"), took a guess at which corresponded to a surplus of a movable charge carrier. He had a 50% chance to assign "positive" to the TYPICAL moving charge carrier in the situations being experimented with (charge transfer by friction between different substances, currents in metallic conductors, and high voltage discharges in air and water-in-air aerosols) and happened to guess "wrong".

Thus we say electrons have a negative charge, "classical current" corresponds to the sum of the flow of moving positive charge minus the flow of negative charge (i.e. the negative of the electron current, which is all there is in normal-matter metallic conductors), the arrowhead on diodes (and junction transistors) points in the direction of classical current across a junction, and so on.

But though it's the charge carrier in metallic conduction and (hard) vacuum tubes, the electron ISN'T the only charge carrier. Even in the above list of phenomena, positive ion flow is a substantial part of electrical discharge currents in air - static sparks and lightning. Positive moving charge carriers are substantial contributors to current as you get to other plasma phenomena and technologies - gas-filled "vacuum" tubes (such as thyratons), gas an LIQUID filled "vacuum" tubes (ignatrons), gas discharge lighting, arc lighting, arc welding, prototype nuclear fusion reactors, ...

Move on to electrochemistry and ALL the charge carriers are ions - atoms or molecular groups with an unequal electron and proton count, and thus a net charge - which may be either positive or negative (and you're usually working wit a mix of both).

And then there's semiconductors, where you have both electrons and "holes" participating in metallic conduction. Yes, you can argue that hole propagation is actually electron movement. But holes act like a coherent physical entity in SO many ways that it's easier to treat them as charge carriers in their own right, with their own properties, than to drill down to the electron hops that underlie them. For starters, they're the only entity in "hole current" that maintains a long-term association with the movement of a bit of charge - any given electron is only involved in a single hop, while the hole exists from its creation (by an electron being ejected from a place in the semiconductor that an electron should be, by doping or excitation, leaving a hole) to their destruction (by a free electron falling into them and releasing the energy of electron-hole-pair separation). They move around - like a charge carrier with a very short (like usually just to the next atom of the solid material) mean free path.

For me the big tell is that they participate in the Hall Effect just as if they were a positive charge carrier being deflected by a magnetic field. The hall voltage tells you the difference between the fraction of the current carried by electrons excited into a conduction band and that carried by holes - whether you think of them as actual moving positive charge carriers or a coordinated hopping phenomenon among electrons that are still in a lower energy state. Further, much of interesting semiconductor behavior is mediated by whether electrons or holes are the "majority carrier" in a given region - exactly what the hall effect tells you about it.

So, as with many engineering phenomena, the sign for charge and current is arbitrary, and there are both real and virtual current carriers with positive charge. Saying "they got it wrong" when classical current is the reverse of electron current is just metallic/thermionic conduction chauvinism. B

Comment The True Problem With Commercial Space (Score 1) 236

As the person credited for the first law commercializing space launch services (credited by the law's sponsor, Ron Packard during his introduction of my Congressional testimony on space commercialization) there truly _is_ a problem with privatized space and it is a capital market failure.

This capital market failure systemically suppresses technology investment and it derives from something that should be obvious to anyone in venture finance:

Economic activity is taxed rather than liquidation value of net assets.

A venture financier, or angle, or anyone else who takes dollars out of a bank account and puts it into a high risk venture, is rendering their capital illiquid. If you cease taxing economic activity (income, capital gains, sales, value added, inheritance, gifts, etc.) and instead tax only the liquidation value of net assets, for all practical purposes high risk investments cease being taxed.

This is why, the year after I testified before Congress on the initial legislative direction for companies like SpaceX, I wrote a white paper titled "A Net Asset Tax Based On The Net Present Value Calculation and Market Democracy" wherein I proposed a shift away from centralized government provision of technology development and, at the same time, a shift away from politically biased government delivery of social goods (ie: the welfare state), by taxing net assets at the rate of interest on the national debt and distributing tax revenues as an unconditional citizen's dividend. Later I clarified the assessment mechanism to be liquidation value as well as some of the further aspects of government to be privatized.

Its obvious why so-called "liberals" don't want this since by-passing the welfare state without regard to any politically defined criteria other than citizenship, it would gut their political base.

Conservatives, in particular neo-libertarians of the Austrian School, on the other hand, have much to answer for here. A net asset tax, so assessed, is a big step toward the anarchocapitalism of the American school of libertarian thought exemplified by Lysander Spooner in his definition of "legitimate government" as "a mutual insurance company". Protecting property rights is according to the American school of libertarian philosophy (as contrasted with the Austrian school), the primary role of government and it is entirely legitimate to charge for that service just as it is legitimate for a property insurance company to charge a premium that is approximately proportional to the value of the property being underwritten. Moreover, it is entirely legitimate for any company to pay dividends and a mutual company would pay dividends to its members -- members who, quite reasonably, could be called on for service in times of emergency such as war and could, therefore, quite reasonably be assigned one share and exactly one share each.

Indeed, I view it as a moral responsibility for men like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg -- particularly as beneficiaries of network externalities aka network effects that could not exist in the absence of government protection of those monopolistic property rights -- to at the very least lend their vocal, if not material, support to such a capital reform.

It would be smart for risk investors like Elon Musk to do so.

Comment Re:Vacuum tubes handle EMP's better (Score 1) 71

"No point progressing since the bombs are gonna fall any day now. Then where will your fancy silicon highways and databases be?"

Given that the Internet Protocol and much of the rest of the networking technology that still underpins the Internet were developed as part of a cold-war program to create a communication system that could survive a nuclear attack that destroyed most of it, and still reorganize itself to pass messages quickly, efficiently, and automatically among any nodes that still had SOME path between them, your post seems to come from some alternate universe to the one I inhabit.

Comment Re:Really hard to stop (Score 1) 247

It's a contract of adhesion, and those are limited in what they can require. As to what the limits are, I don't know, and it would probably depend on your jurisdiction anyway.

FWIW, even standard contracts are limited in what the state is allowed to enforce.... but as far as I know, each contract requires a separate lawsuit. And the first item of business would probably be as to whether they can force you to use arbitration with their selected arbitrator.

Comment Re:I think you are on to something (Score 1) 213

I'm not convinced that there's a reasonable chance that you would EVER get your stuff back, no matter how much time and effort you spent on it. And I've heard things that cause me to believe that it's not only tourists that suffer.

It's not so much power that corrupts, as lack of consequences. Admittedly, the two are often closely intertwined.

Comment Re:Legality? (Score 1) 302

I think the IANAL disclaimers are because some places have laws against pretending to practice law when you aren't licensed. The IANAL is anti-lawsuit insurance.

That's just a guess, and that's why I use it when I use it. Also because some people are so Darwin award worthy that they *would* take legal advice from someone unknown over the Internet.

Comment The real reason (Score 1) 552

I will likely be downvoted, even though what I write is absolutely true.

Revolution was predicted at least 6 years ago, a result of public land policy changes made 50 years ago and yet nobody talks about it. In fact, if anybody brings it up, they are immediately dismissed as radical, or simply silly.

Starving people are dramatically more likely to revolt than well fed people. Somehow, mentioning this ridiculously obvious fact is universally dismissed.

Comment The IRS keeps its hooks in US citizens who leave. (Score 2) 358

I'd also move my operation to Ireland if I could.

What's stopping you?

The US tax code. The US keeps its hooks in its citizens and companies, for decades, if they try to leave, even if they move out and renounce their citizenship.

The US does this to a far greater extent than other countries who generally don't tax their citizens if they're out of the country for more than half a year. (This is where "The Jet Set" came from: Citizens of various non-US countries who had found a way to earn a living that let them split their time among three or more countries every year and avoid enough income tax to live high-on-the-hog, even on an income that otherwise might be middle-class.)

Only really big companies, with armies of lawyers, can find loopholes that let them effectively move out of the US to a lower-taxing alternative. You'll note that TFA is a lament about how one managed to escape, and how the US might "close THIS loophole" to prevent others from using it.

Comment Re:Simple Fix for H1B Visa Problem (Score 1) 55

Simply require that H-1B visa holders must be paid at least the 90th percentile (or 95th if you like) wage for their field.

Plus any amount that the employer would have to pay into a government entitlement program for a US employee that he doesn't need to pay into said program for a foreigner on H1B (or other work visa systems).

It's even fair. If the program is, say, a retirement program that the visiting worker can't benefit from, shouldn't he have the money to buy a replacement for it elsewhere?

Comment Dow makes LOTS of stuff. (Score 1) 491

... by everyone's favorite munitions manufacturer: Dow Chemical.

Dow makes a LOT of chemical stuff. Some of it's useful to the military.

If their Dow Corning partnership-subsidiary hadn't been hammered into bankruptct by a bunch of (later shown to be bogus) suits claiming medial harm from their silicon breast implants, we might have had hybrid cars a couple decades earlier, out of Detroit rather than Japan, using lenticular, glass fiber, super flywheels, rather than batteries, for energy storage.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.