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Comment Re:Probably not bad (Score 1) 135

This is very true. I used to live in a small western city (OK, like 80,000 population) in Colorado where the only broadband options for residential consumers were CenturyLink and Comcast. Comcast said they couldn't offer gigabit internet to the city because it wasn't feasible. So the citizens put up a ballot initiative to install municipal fiber with gigabit speeds for something like $50 or $80/mo., and when the ballot initiative passed, low and behold it didn't take but 2 months for Comcast to change its tune and say they'd be offering 2.4Gb service for about $10/mo. more than their current maximum 105Mb service, but only within the city and only in areas where the new municipal fiber was going to be available. To everyone else, either the former maximum or no service at all.

In fact where I was living, my neighbor directly connecting to the back side of my lot could get that 105Mb service from Comcast, but I, on the other side of the property line could get nothing at all. Had I not decided to move to Arizona around that time, I'd have made a deal with my backyard neighbor to pay for internet service for him if he'd allow me to string a CAT5 cable out his back door to my back door.

For comparison purposes, the only broadband available at my house was through CenturyLink, and with no Comcast competing with them, the most I could get from them was 1.5Mbit/892Kbit, while my backyard neighbor could get 100Mb from CenturyLink and connected to the same demark because we were in the same neighborhood and the next nearest dmark was 2 miles away (our neighborhood was in the middle of the country, just outside the city).

The collusion, corruption, and extortion rampant throughout ISPs in the U.S. is way beyond the pale. There is zero excuse for any of it. Gotta love unbridled crapitalism I guess!

Comment Re:Many gas stations to close? (Score 1) 904

Propane is used in a lot of things that aren't vehicles though. People use it to heat their homes and power BBQs for instance. For gasoline, that's only true for weed trimmers and lawn mowers and snow blowers, but nobody burns gasoline to do all of those other things that require a propane infrastructure. Remember to factor that into the equation.

I also don't think gasoline is going to go the way of the dodo anytime soon, but in 30-50 years, it probably will be a much more serious inconvenience (and far more major expense) if you're still trying to drive a gas car.

Comment Re:Electric is Evolution. Driverless is Revolution (Score 1) 904

How much difference does the energy density of the battery make when the car itself is vastly more energy efficient? If a diesel car is 35% efficient but an EV is 95% efficient, then the EV already enjoys an advantage over the diesel, and as energy density grows, that advantage grows right along with it.

Put in other terms, if a diesel car gets 50 MPG, then it's using 264.6MJ per 100 miles, whereas an EV is using 108MJ (at 300wH/mi) to cover that same 100 miles. That's already a significant advantage.

Comment Re: Sure you can. (Score 1) 492

It's true that that happened with Internet Explorer, but it happened mostly due to complacency by Microsoft. If they hadn't literally just outright CEASED development on IE for like 5 straight years while other development teams were vigorously and actively pursuing newer better browsing technologies, then it's likely they never would've been supplanted by anyone else to any meaningful extent.

The only reason that was able to actually happen is because they completely quit working on IE, and in the intervening years, huge amounts of malware exploited IE's ancient lack of security. And even that might've been largely avoided or mitigated had it not been the default browser that shipped with every single version of Windows, which represented more than 90% of the global consumer install base.

Your points are all correct though-- just that it may somewhat understate Microsoft's own role in IE's fall from the vaulted pillar upon which it once sat, and at least somewhat overstate Google's and Mozilla's roles in gobbling up what IE lost.

Comment Re:Then make the "aberration" return. (Score 1) 585

Those both sound like exactly the same thing-- eliminating a job or leaving a job having a cost associated with doing so. If one side wants to sever the relationship, then that side incurs a cost of some kind. This incentivizes the separation as only happening when that separation has merit to it rather than just happening on a simple whim, or because some marginal opportunity came along.

If there were no barrier to entry for an investment like the potential loss of your investment, everyone would always invest in any ridiculous thing. But there is, so they don't-- and yet this doesn't prevent investment entirely, it only limits it to those investments which are likely to pay a return greater than the cost of the initial investment. Having a cost incurred as part of unemploying someone offsets the cost of hiring that person to begin with, netting higher quality employees and higher quality employers as a result, just like it does for investment. In the end, an employment relationship is nothing more than a two-way investment, so that shouldn't be surprising.

That being said, it makes sense that there should be a higher barrier to severing an employment relationship for a company-- particularly a large company-- because they automatically have more power in the relationship compared to the employee. The employee's survival is typically intrinsically tied to their employment, while a company-- particularly a larger company-- will generally be able to get along just fine without that employee. The costs should balance out that equation, ensuring some measure of equity between both parties, otherwise the result will tend toward abuse, which it often does.

Comment Re:greed for knowledge (Score 2) 585

I actually haven't ever seen the movie, so I can't comment on that, but it sounds like an idiotic argument that ideally nobody should've fallen for based on the portions you've included here. Knowledge isn't a zero-sum game-- I can have knowledge and you can have knowledge and neither of us is preventing anyone else from also having that same knowledge, nor are we losing that knowledge when someone else gains it. It can be shared infinitely.

Money, or capital, or real resources cannot be shared infinitely, because for one person to have them, another must necessarily be deprived of them or of some relative portion of them. Because of this, I don't see it as greed in both cases. I tend to view greed as "I want X where X is a depleteable resource, even though my having it necessarily means that someone else must be deprived of it-- and I want much more of it than I need, even though that means that someone else who also needs it must do without it."

"Greed for knowledge" to me is more akin to "that guy made himself a table. I want to make myself a table." than it is to "that guy made himself a table. I want that guy's table but I don't want to give him the means to make himself another table in exchange for it."

Greed, to me, requires more of a deliberately inequitable transaction to take place. It's an exploitative transaction, rather than a mutually equitably beneficial transaction.

Comment Re:Insecurity culture.... (Score 1) 585

How can you study history and even ask a question like this seriously? It's a well known and widely documented feature of Japanese (and some other Asian countries') culture.

I don't have the book with me to quote, but in Chinese Culture: A Sourcebook, there's a section talking about an ancient Chinese general's response to a suggestion that they build a war monument after a decisive victory, so I'll paraphrase the gist of what he said. Essentially, the general said they should not build a monument celebrating the victory, because the general said the fact that they needed to go into battle in the first place was a result of a failure on the part of the government-- had they done their jobs correctly, there would've been no need for a battle in the first place-- and so why should they waste resources building a monument to what amounts to failure? I don't recall the year that this took place, but it was at least 1,000 years ago, and there are further examples all across history in both Chinese and Japanese cultures.

If you study psychology, you'll find a similar, related effect of this difference in their societies. The incidence of clinical psychopathy in the U.S. and other Westernized countries is somewhere on the order of 1 in 25, to 1 in 100 people. When the exact same criteria are applied in some Asian countries, the results show that the incidence of psychopathy is somewhere on the order of 1 in 100 to 1 in 400. There has not been adequate research to confirm the hypothesis, but the researchers believe that the actual incidence is not higher in those Asian countries, and it's simply that due to their cultures being more "everyone-oriented" rather than individual-oriented as we have here in the U.S., that the psychopaths have simply had to adapt to considering other people in order to succeed and pursue their own goals-- so they're just less visible and marginally less anti-social due to the necessity of being pro-social in order to succeed at anything or to have any power to wield over anyone.

Literally all of the facts suggest that the differences that show up across the board in their culture and history are why they take different approaches to things than we do here in the west-- approaches in which the leaders are more likely to take personal responsibility, or at least handle things personally enough that there are direct repercussions to them for their own failures. For modern examples, look at the executives being prosecuted for their handling of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant after the tsunami, or the fact that when it came time to clean up after the disaster, it was the older workers to volunteered to do it because they were nearer to the end of their lives anyway, so that the younger people who had more life left to live would be more likely to be able to live them out.

Their history is riddled with examples like that. Remember that this is a nation that came up with seppuku as a means to deal with ultimate failure or even bringing shame onto oneself or one's family through one's failure.

Comment Re: Troll (Score 1) 585

The No True Scotsman fallacy is not always an actual fallacy, and invoking it doesn't automatically make the argument invalid or incorrect. It only makes it suspect, and require further investigation or provenance, because the No True Scotsman argument itself is not adequate proof to either support or not support the thesis point.

All you've done is deflect the argument by deliberately ignoring its point and any evidence supporting it due to also invoking a No True Scotsman fallacy, which is itself a fallacy.

Comment Re:The "Religion of Peace" (Score 1) 238

When someone abuses religion for their own ends, it is not the religion at fault, it is the individual or group abusing that religion for their own ends. ISIS might have a few tens of thousands of members (many of whom are more secondary sociopaths than the psychopaths who started/run it), but Islam has 1.2 billion members, the overwhelming vast majority of whom are in fact peaceful. Don't blind yourself to an ideology by ignoring facts, or else you become your own enemy, by becoming like your own enemy.

Comment Re:It ought to be legal to scam ISIS (Score 1) 238

The problem is you're still catering to criminals. If scamming them is legal, then law abiding people will scam them, sure. But scammers are scammers because they game systems for profit. If it's legal to scam ISIS, then scammers will scam ISIS but they will also scam the system of scamming ISIS, making even MORE money in the process, and costing everyone else at the same time.

It's never good to cater to criminals, and it's never good to blur lines-- we have enough problems caused by this as it is, and adding more of them isn't going to make things better.

Besides that, doing something like this in any kind of official, broad spectrum capacity is also going to provide evolutionary pressure on ISIS to get smarter, and they're already quite smart for a terrorist organization, so it's probably best that we let them be as stupid as they are rather than influencing them to become even smarter, because that only makes our job even harder, decreasing the odds that we'll succeed by some small measure, or at least pushing out success that much further. Spam was just spam when it was small, but then it grew and everybody started spamming, and then legitimate email users created smart spam filtering to counteract it-- but by that time, we were already wasting tons of resources fighting an enemy that we empowered in the first place, creating a permanent enemy and an endless war.

Comment Re:Zero Soul Power (Score 1) 291

Well, actually it's both that should draw our wrath and ire, because at their root, they're the same kind of destructive force, and picking and choosing which kind of evil to have wrath and ire for only enables the remaining evil to perpetuate itself, leaving us with the same destruction, just in a somewhat different form, and with different victims.

Comment Re:Tesla asks for huge tax on meat: (Score 1) 291

I'm not convinced this is a genuine point, I'll have to look into the numbers further. Here is the problem at the surface though.

If we eat cows, they die and don't produce any more methane. If we stop eating them, they don't die, and continue to produce methane. If we continually eat them, we kill one cow and raise another in its place. It seems to me that if we all became vegetarian that it may have little if any actual impact on greenhouse gas emissions because by breaking the cycle, we just have existing animals taking the place of replacement animals, and the whole thing becomes a wash and the net balance is zero, or close to zero.

The significant difference here is that the greenhouse gases that food animals produce is not sequestered gas like it is for the transportation industry. The greenhouse gases released by burning gasoline in cars is greenhouse gas that's been sequestered in the ground in petroleum for hundreds of thousands of years, and is being released by drilling, processing, and burning at a pace far more rapid than it was originally created. The greenhouse gases created by ranching an animal are gases that are produced in real time over the lifetime of the animal itself-- not by eating animals that have been in the ground for hundreds of thousands of years.

The only obvious significant contribution to global warming that can easily be attributed to eating animals is that burned by the ranchers in the course of operating their ranch-- i.e., transportation from ranch to market, transportation of resources to and from the ranch, and so forth-- but all of that already falls under the rubric of transportation anyway, so it's still only a fraction of the total.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 1) 291

A flat tax can only work after you have a system in place to ensure that every citizen of working age has a guaranteed minimum access to the essentials necessary for living-- food, home, healthcare, education, utilities, and so forth. If you want to guarantee that every citizen has equal access to the bare minimum of those things, then I'll be 100% behind your desire for a flat tax. Until then, though, flat taxes are inequitably detrimental to the poor.

A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill