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Comment: Re:Can government solve government problems? (Score 1) 135

by bmajik (#48397321) Attached to: Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

My ILEC is CenturyLink, a national company. The neighboring ILEC is actually a locally owned company that is much smaller and is providing much better service.

The point is, even if I wanted wired IP service from a competing ISP, that's not possible because the ILEC owns the copper to my property and the ILEC cannot provide L2 connectivity over its existing infrastructure, and has no plans to upgrade that infrastructure.

Meanwhile, a neighboring, locally owned ILEC is running FTTH to its rural customers...

I haven't spoken enough with the competing ILEC to know if they'd be able to finance their fiber buildout without capturing the revenue from voice and data service on top of their plant.

I don't understand your reference to my state. I agree that we shouldn't make laws for everyone based on the conditions in a particular place.

That's actually a great reason to limit FCC oversight, since it is a federal entity and makes rules that are national in scope...

Comment: Re:Can government solve government problems? (Score 1) 135

by bmajik (#48397241) Attached to: Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

Why does Verizon have the right to saturate my property with 700mhz energy?

I didn't sell that to them.

If they want to shoot 700mhz energy across (and through!) my house, why don't they have to buy rights to that? If they are preventing me from being able to do anything in my own home with 700mhz because of their harmful emissions, why don't I have any recourse against them?

Nobody would let me park across the street from your house and shine lasers or even flashlights into your windows.

Why is Verizon given this same privilege, albeit in a section of non-visible spectrum?

The current RF energy governance framework we have in the US may not be appropriate. The spectrum licensees certainly benefit from legal protection from competition, and from legal usurpation of my property rights on a massive scale...

Comment: Re:Can government solve government problems? (Score 1) 135

by bmajik (#48397141) Attached to: Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

I am near the edge of my ILEC's territory. If I wanted a different ILEC from a neighboring territory to be able to provide service at my address, I would need to petition for the two ILECs in question to agree to "hand me off" from the current ILEC to a different one.

This comes directly from the state public service commission in my state (North Dakota).

Comment: Can government solve government problems? (Score 4, Interesting) 135

by bmajik (#48396731) Attached to: Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

Legally, only one ILEC is allowed to run copper pairs to my property. They have no interested in upgrading their plant.

They have a protected monopoly.

In many jurisdictions, only one cable company can put coax in the ground.

They have a protected monopoly.

IP protections, like copyright, are a government protected monopoly.

Frequency allocations, overseen by the FCC, are a government protected monopoly.

Access Easements on private property for incumbent wire owners (e.g. the cable company can put a truck or a box on your property if they like) are a government grant of special privilege.

Given all of the government collusion with the current infrastructure, asking if government can address its own problems seems a bit silly. Of course it could. It could stop enabling all of the stuff it currently enables, for one.

If you try to factor the residential broadband problem into an OSI-type layer model, perhaps what makes sense is to limit vertical integration.

E.g. if there is physical plant, IP transit, content delivery, and content production, it would be problematic to allow, for instance, SONY, to own all 4 of those layers in some specific area.

Ideally there would be robust competition at each layer.

Another action the government could take would be to stop approving merger/consolidation deals that have the net effect of consolidating layers and/or markets in such a way that overall marketplace competition suffers.

In some communities, public utility ownership of layer 1 (physical plant) would make a lot of sense and would be voter supported. In others, it wouldn't, and wouldn't. Both models are worth trying.

As you go up the stack, there are lots of opportunities for different business models. Community owned IP transit? Why not? This is, in some regards, the case at current internet peering points. The members co-own the exchanges. It is in some respects like the agricultural co-ops that are so common in rural America - the land of rugged individualists.

People are, after all, not opposed to working in groups when they like the group and when the cooperation makes sense (as opposed to being coercive in nature)

Comment: Re:Go back to the pre 1984 AT&T model (Score 1) 706

by bmajik (#48354017) Attached to: President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

I currently live on a farm 3.5 miles from the nearest town. The copper pair running to my property is so noisy that the phone company asks me if it always sounds so bad. It is actually provisioned out of a different town a bit further away. Of course it is not possible to get a DSL connection where I am. In fact, it is impossible to get any kind of wired broadband service where I am.

I have been making due with a Verizon LTE puck for the last year, and it is truly terrible. The key problem is that it is a metered connection; I pay for every byte that "allegedly" goes in or out of the box. I say allegedly because I know enough about tcpdump to suspect that Verizon is being a bit optimistic about my usage (and therefore, my bill). In addition to the high cost of a metered connection, the reliability is not very good.

So, I have taken it upon myself to build my own wireless link from the nearby town, where DSL service is available. I tested the p2p wireless link this weekend and it provided 25MBit of aggregate bandwidth -- more than the DSL service feeding it is actually providing.

In your world of government monopoly, do you think it would be easier or harder for me to have working and affordable un-metered broadband at my property?

Because while I had to build it my damn self, at least I was able/allowed to build it my damn self.

I buy my electricity and water from county-level rural cooperatives. It is clear that local, small scale operations can do an effective job of providing good services. I am amenable to the idea that perhaps last-mile infrastructure could be common carrier and community owned/operated.

I am a bit more hesitant to say that I want my choices dictated entirely by the machinery of government. I am currently in that situation and it is unpleasant.

Comment: Re:Why would anyone support this? (Score 2) 706

by bmajik (#48353895) Attached to: President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

You should read this paper very carefully:

http://www.peterleeson.com/Bet...

Also, Somalia currently has the cheapest and best cell phone service in Africa.

The "move to Somalia" argument is a pretty standard trope when having conversations about the proper size and scope of government. Of course, there are lots of reasons why overweight white software engineers from America wouldn't necessarily thrive in Somalia irrespective of what kind of government it did or didn't have, but that doesn't really seem to diminish how often the trope is pulled out, so let's try something else -- you know, actual data.

Rather than repeating an unsubstantiated bias, I encourage you to read the paper I linked.

I'll spoil it a little bit: The conclusion, of course, isn't that all governments are bad (that's a philosophical conjecture, not a testable hypothesis). It is, however, quite apparent that some governments are so bad that no government is actually preferable.

This is actually the case in Somalia.

Somalia may at some point transition to a government that is objectively better than their current situation, but their current arrangement is, as the paper argues, objectively better than their previously governed condition.

Comment: Background material: (Score 5, Informative) 152

by bmajik (#48263469) Attached to: Stan Lee Media and Disney Battle For Ownership of Marvel Characters

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

Short Version: Stan Lee has had nothing to do with SLM for over a decade - since his former friend and co-founder fled to South America to avoid federal securities fraud prosecution.

SLM is currently a few leeches who have nothing to do with the comics industry are trying to sink their claws into the profits of the creative class.

I understand that creative people need money to work, and the entities that front that money are due a return on their investment.

That's not what's going on here.

Comment: Re:So.... (Score 2) 583

by bmajik (#48241251) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

I don't think people like Elon musk worry about being out of a job.

Industrial robots didn't unbolt themselves from the factory floors and go and kill the people that wanted to turn them off.

Because they couldn't. Because they couldn't have their own wills at all.

Mr. Musk is advising us to NOT create the kind of robots that could.

Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 1) 786

by bmajik (#48205419) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Actually, what I want people to come away with is that they should stop assuming equality of outcomes.

When there is evidence of negative behaviors causing undesirable outcomes in specific instances, acting to rememdy that is of course a reasonable thing to do.

My point is just that we should be specific and honest about the goal posts. If your goal post is "women should be represented at 50% within profession blah", that is a claim that requires a lot of unpacking and justification. We should automatically reject claims like this until sufficient argument and evidence is presented.

We shouldn't automatically expect a 50/50 split -- if for no other reason than because men and women are biologically different.

So if the claim is that some women who wish to be programmers aren't doing so because of undesirable social factor X, how do you know when you've "succeeded" ?

Is it when no more women complain? Is it when the gender ratio in the industry is 50/50? 55/45? 45/55?

And, to open an entirely different can of worms -- why is helping women get the job they want supposed to be anyone else's problem?

Or, suppose that there was a _social cost_ or an economic cost to achieving an (X/100-X) gender ratio in a specific industry? How would you decide if that cost was worth paying? Why is it your decision?

Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 4, Insightful) 786

by bmajik (#48199245) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Well, I'd say "fewer men should die" if I were going to make that statement.

It turns out, actually, that certain jobs are dangerous and unpleasant, and men seem to self-select for these jobs more often than do females.

There are a number of interesting possible explanations for this, but none of them are terribly surprising unless you've thought for most of your conscious life that the two genders are truly and completely identical, and any differences are only the result of social conditioning.

Of course, this is absurd.

Biologically, men are expendable and women are not. Biologically, the humans of today come from a narrower range of paternal ancestors, because human breeding was selective. Men who had power, prowess, ambition, and ruthlessness passed on their genes AND shaped the socities that men and women lived in.

In considering distributions of male size, strength, intelligence, and so on, the distributions are wider than when considering females. The smartest men appear to be much smarter than the smartest women; the dumbest men appear to be much dumber than the dumbest women.

Males simply have higher expressed variability.

Men need less sleep than women; men are not as attuned to empathy as are women; men engage in much riskier behavior than do women, and their neural reward and risk center works differently than it does in women.

You can continue to pretend that gender is a social construct, or that male and female distributions and outcomes should be identical, but here on the real world, they aren't and they won't be.

In the event that any public entity (e.g. a government) has a policy that would prevent an individual woman from doing some job merely on account of her being a woman, we should repeal that policy.

In the event that any private entity (e.g. a business) has a policy that would prevent an individual woman from doing some job merely on account of her being a woman, we should think that business owner is a jerk.

Individuals in a free society should be free to do as they like.

But what we should stop assuming is that men and women are interchangeable and will have broadly identical social preferences and outcomes.

They won't, and that's not because anything is standing in their way. They're just different.

By Nature.

Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 3, Insightful) 786

by bmajik (#48198409) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

In your view, is it a problem that men are nearly 10x as likely as women to die on the job?

What systemic factors should we address so that the number of women dying in mine cave-ins rises to equal the number of men?

Oh, this isn't a priority for you? Why not?

"Laugh while you can, monkey-boy." -- Dr. Emilio Lizardo

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