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Comment: Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 1) 174

by Tom (#48624793) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

So you switched from nationalisation of certain industries to taxpayer-funded cronyism?

I don't know all the details, but basically, yes.

The Deutsche Bahn was a state-owned monopolist for long-distance rail transport (both goods and people). During the privatization craze of the 90s or so, the government decided to turn it into Deutsche Bahn AG - a private company, listed at the stock exchange.

After a short transition, the C level started to think and act like C levels do, and - with a little help of big consulting companies - decided that public transport isn't all that interesting and profitable and that they would simply use it as leverage to become a huge, global, logistics company. You can already see where it all went wrong.

In order to raise capital, the government planned to sell its shares. But to make it interesting to buyers, the company first had to become profitable. So all that I've described happened. People in small towns suddenly found out that they were not using the train enough, so train service was discontinued and the station closed. Of course, now they had to use cars more which meant more traffic, roads maintainence costs increased, more roads had to be built - as a singular entity, the government before had included all those factors and decided that train service to this town was the right decision, even if the ticket sales by themselves didn't cover costs - but if you figure in the costs of not having a train service, suddenly it does make sense. As a private company, the Deutsche Bahn AG only considered the side of the equation it owned, and that didn't show a profit.
This happened to hundreds of train lines and stations.

Total damage to the german economy - unknown. Some estimates I've read are in the billions.

Comment: Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 2) 174

by Tom (#48624743) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

The reasons they were privatized and the like was that the other wasn't sustainable

Get a clue before you enter a discussion. Many of the companies that were privatized were doing as good or even better than the private companies that replace them today. That doesn't always mean they are or were profitable - for some things such as public transport or universities or garbage collection maybe the benefit to society should be the important factor and not ROI and shareholder value.

You are repeating the ignorant blabbering of typical right-wing americans who think that anything that's not cut-throat capitalism is automatically communism. The thought that a world inbetween the extremes could exist has never crossed your mind, has it?

The strange truth is that the very america that had McCarthyism was very interested in and actively promoting the social market economy model of western europe, because they realized that if they had attempted to install the no-hold-barred brutality of pure US capitalism, most of post-WW2 europe would have become communist by free choice.

That economic model was the synthesis (to use philosophy terms) between the two equally wrong extremes. It gave us all the advantages of free markets, free choice of jobs, private companies and competition while at the same time protecting those areas where pure capitalism does more harm than good, like health care, public transportation or natural monopolies.

Sadly, the two competing extremes didn't fail at the same time to the same degree, so we've now been janked towards the "winner", and all the advantages are slowly evaporating in favor of higher stock prices and an economy based on bubbles and bullshit.

I'm not in favour of communism at all - had capitalism failed first, the same would have happened in the other direction and we'd be equally bad of. But on almost every metric you choose, western Europe was in a better condition 30 years ago.

Comment: Re:Conservatives mostly don't like the involvement (Score 2) 174

by Tom (#48624705) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Who said anything about redoing the cabling every time you change providers you complete fucking retard?

I did, because that's what your ignorant argument would lead to.

Situation now, in almost all homes: There is one cable going to the nearest street node. This is the famous "last mile".

You want that cable owned by the ISP, which means for every home where the inhabitants are not customers of the current cable owner, either the new ISP needs to buy the cable, or put down a new one, since these are the only two ways in which he can be owner of the last mile.

If they switch ISP again, this repeats.

If a new ISP company wants to enter the market, suddenly the barriers to entry are much, much higher than they are now. Goodbye free market.

And let's talk about multi-story houses with a dozen or a hundred flats, and lots of different ISPs serving different flats...

Instead of admitting your argument was stupid, let's insult people around you who put you straight.

Going through the streets, you have a similar situation.

Not at all. The office building example is at the other end of the last mile. We're talking about the cable connecting the (office or whatever) building to the telco network in the street. Completely different things.

Comment: Re:Conservatives mostly don't like the involvement (Score 2) 174

by Tom (#48624675) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Right, because there is no other possible way to lay cable then the way they've always laid cable.

If you actually could re-invent the cable-putting industry, you'd not be posting in /., you'd be busy making your first billion. (you'd already have your first million)

Any place that had frequent changes to the cabling would either have an accessible conduit system or run the cables on poles.

You'd have to install the conduits first, which means digging up all the streets. A hunch tells me that is even less likely to happen in the near future.

Poles are not really practical in the places that the majority of the population in the west lives in. These places are called "cities". Cities are where the money is in telecommunications, so if your solution can't work in cities, it's dead in the water.

Disclaimer: I've actually worked in the telecommunications industry for 10 years.

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 5, Interesting) 174

by Tom (#48615431) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Second all of that from Germany.

Energy companies - privatized. Prices have gone up, service is still good mostly because of government regulations, the market is now largely dominated by less than 5 big energy companies. Only recently thanks to renewable energy have smaller, local players re-emerged.

Public transport - long distance privatized. Service down, delays up, lots of smaller stations have been closed and lines discontinued, government subsidizes the whole thing still.

Telecommunications - privatized. Looked like a success for many years, but now that the old monopolist has stopped being a dominant player (it wasn't broken down like AT&T), service is going down the drain and prices are secretly climbing (base fees are low, nobody dares being the first to raise them, but they're all adding all kinds of additional charges, reducing service for the base fee so you have to buy a higher contract for the same, etc.)

Pensions - being dismantled as we look. We had a great state pension system. It survived both world wars and managed to pay out pensions even when the rest of Germany was flat broke. Heck, even in the few years after WW2 when Germany didn't exist at all and it was just an occupied zone. Now the state pension system is being systematically dismantled by politics while private pension funds and insurances work hard to convince you that you absolutely need them or you'll be poor when you are old.

The examples go on and on and on. In the end, it is quite clear that what my old philosophy teacher in school said was right: capitalism, communism, fascism, extremism, islamism, doesn't matter, be aware of everything that ends with -ism.

The free market is a cute idea and it works great for trade. But don't make it a religion. Many human endeavours are not trade and not suitable to be treated like that. I hope we all agree that things like art and love fall into that category, so we should be open to at least discussing if health, transportation and communications might fall into it as well.

The same is true for communism. The idea that every is equal is great for politics, and a lot of what's wrong in the west today is caused by our hidden abolishing of the "one vote per citizen" rule by allowing campaign financing to dominate the results instead of votes. But again there are lots of areas where treating everyone the same is not the right approach. Education, science, sports and business are all places where it's good if people start out with equal chances, but as their talents and abilities emerge, they need to be treated differently. And planned economy has been pretty much proved to be a disaster, too.

In every other -ism you will always find at least one small grain of truth. Maybe even ISIS has a right idea in its idiology somewhere. The problem is always if you think you can explain the whole world by one truth, one interpretation, one approach.
But religion doesn't built space ships, and science doesn't write operas, and capitalism doesn't create families.

Comment: Re:Check your math. (Score 1) 872

by Tom (#48605153) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

I agree that there's the difference of book or not, but frankly speaking, most christians known only the summary version of their holy book and never actually read it, so the difference is, again mostly semantical.

That christians today don't want to kill unbelievers and heretics anymore has little to do with christianity itself and a lot with the enlightenment and the secularisation of society and politics.

Comment: Re:Wolves among sheep (Score 1) 872

by Tom (#48601967) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

I've heard that so often, it's time to burn the strawman.

In "such situations" (red flag right there - vague specification), only the pre-planned, very bad guys with proper resources and connections are armed like the military.

Most bad guys are lacking either the resources or the connections or the patience to jump through all the hoops that you need to jump through to acquire, say, an assault rifle illegally. In my country, which has strict gun controls, very few crimes involve weapons of any kind, and in those that do the weapon is almost always either a knife or a pistol. That means regular police can engage the criminal.

Comment: Re:Check your math. (Score 1) 872

by Tom (#48601705) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

That's probably because Christianity does not require believers to spread the faith

Semantically correct, but the step is so thin it's not a surprise so many christians throughout history thought otherwise.

If you know (not suspect or think, but know by divine message from the creator himself) that everyone who doesn't join your faith is doomed to eternal suffering in this world and the next, and their children and their children as well, you either feel a strong impulse to teach them the "truth", or you're not really serious about it.

Comment: Re:Muslims? (Score 2) 872

by Tom (#48601619) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Extremism is bad and causes people to do irrational things. Your brand of extremism is as bad as any other.

Like it or not, there are different types of extremism.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_6ccC...

That's half a joke, and half true. In some circles, you are considered an extremist if you are rude to others while addressing whatever the issue is. In other circles, you're not an extremist if you kill people over the issue, only if, say, they were children.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340

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