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Comment: Re:Crowding Out Effect (Score 1) 37

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785319) Attached to: How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

The truth is that infrastructure just isn't that conducive to competition.

Heh, just ten years ago I heard people saying that - shortly before Comcast offered phone service and before Verizon offered TV service. Both cable TV and telephone were "natural monopolies" before they weren't. To offer that Verizon had to replace their entire cable plant and Comcast had to replace much of it. What they didn't have to do was go through an extremely expensive political and regulatory process to get access to pole space (in the "public right of way").

Who'd want 3 different water/sewer systems connected to their house?

When the first two are charging $1000/mo for water and the third offers it for $50 a month, then the cost of laying the new piping can be amortized over a short enough time period that either customers or investors are willing to put up the money for the time-value return of the subscribers' rates.

It's exactly the same calculation for anything anybody calls a 'natural monopoly'. Absent an interfering government, the money flows to the best service provider.

Comment: Re:OK Another one (Score 1) 22

by bill_mcgonigle (#47785249) Attached to: Astronomers Find What May Be the Closest Exoplanet So Far

It might even have a thin enough atmosphere to not completely crush a human.

If the gravity isn't too high, we can engineer around all the rest. Ought to be just fine for bots if the solder doesn't flow at its temps. A giant pot of natural resources at 11LY is very exciting for colonials!

Comment: Re:So what was the plan? (Score 1) 738

by swb (#47777555) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Russian gas is a double-edged sword for Russia. It's economy is already on the skids, a boycott of Russian gas by the EU (to the extent is practical) makes it worse. I think the oligarchs will go a long ways with Putin but there is a point at which they might like being rich more than they fear Putin.

I also think that anything that looks like real brinksmanship with the US that could lead to a shooting war would be defused by the Chinese. On paper, they'd love to see the US and Russia beat the shit out of each other, but at the end of the day it would eviscerate the Chinese economy and lead to a ton of turmoil. China moves forward with the US and collapses without it. When push comes to shove, they will back the US over Russia because they can move forward without Russia.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 738

by bill_mcgonigle (#47776163) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Im not 100% clear why we wouldnt want to get involved here, if ever there were a time to get involved.

Because of natural gas interests to benefit Europe, naturally. European countries are spending themselves into the ground so they lean on the US to be World Police. Oligarchs protecting oligarchs, that is all.

And see, we can discredit everybody who claims this will be yet another "war for oil". "War for hydrocarbons" just doesn't have the same ring to it. There's no appetite for a "war for energy" because then people would point out that we have many safe ways of producing all the energy we need already (but the corporate arms dealers don't much care for those).

Comment: Re:Apparently the trolls are out here, too (Score 2, Funny) 1111

I'm just still trying to keep up.

Is this week...
a) "women are as tough as men and can do anything men can do, and need no special favors because those deprecate her strength" or
b) "women are snowflakes that can't be expected to simply ignore hurtful comments to their delicate sensibilities"

I can never quite tell which one I'm supposed to ardently support today?

Comment: Re:Memes = Politics? (Score 4, Interesting) 124

The odd part of this story is when it says:

some are engineered by the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns

yet I'm failing to think of even one example of a viral meme that fits into that category. I mean, yeah, trigger words for government funding and all that, but even one?

If somebody wants to tell me that Nanci Pelosi's people came up with Doge, OK, fine, I'd believe it, but I've never heard any such insinuations.

Comment: Re:Honest question from a non-USian (Score 3, Interesting) 96

Why does the FBI get involved? is it because the events span multiple states, or because the banks have so much clout? If this had happened to google or microsoft, for example, would the FBI get involved?

The FBI will exercise its power whenever it can, but almost always only if oligarchs are involved. Sure, they can't avoid the bad PR of ignoring a kidnapping, but if Grandma's money gets stolen because her paypal account is hacked, then don't expect her to get any help - only the institutions that are politically connected yet could afford their own investigation get that kind of help (while Grandma is essentially helpless). They'll excuse it by saying "oh, we can only help if the dollar amount exceeds $X because we have limited resources" but what that really means is they only help rich enough people, who (shocker) also tend to be the ones capable of making campaign donations. The help is means-tested, but not in the way one might expect.

In various roles I've heard from local chiefs of police who are trying to help out various citizens, just because there is no other option for them. It's not uniform at all, but investigating online crimes is not what those guys have training for.

If somebody here has had FBI help for small-dollar crimes where that was their only option, then I'd love to hear counterexamples.