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Comment Moooo (Score 1) 250 250

I for one am eating them as fast as I can, but think going after power stations, industry and transportation fuels is gonna be more effective.

As far as mitigation goes, increasing forest biomass is good. As far as managing what we've already got, the key factor is chaos theory, which I strongly recommend reading up on: it's fascinating.

Basically we're gonna get progressively more insane weather events because climate's a chaotic system. It's never just 'everything smoothly gets five degrees hotter', instead you get killing frosts in June and droughts that wipe out entire crops for the year or turn states into dust bowls, heat waves akin to the surface of Mars etc. More than that, you get increased chaos and violence of the system, so you want to watch for not average behaviors, but the rapidity and unpredictability of change.

Chaotic systems being what they are, and the climate being a chaotic system quite literally, what we see is the range of possible event opening up. The maximum observable behavior on a number of fronts goes way past expectation. Tornadoes, hurricanes, possibly even earthquakes as the whole thing ramps up, and of course insane brief torrential rains and such. This is what chaos looks like, and it will continue to increase faster than expected.

Comment Re:Amnesia? (Score 2) 124 124

But that means it's no longer a market as we understand it, and no longer capitalism as it was envisioned.

When the money seeking other fortune is on a scale where it can't behave like micro-economics, it's time to observe the behaviors and ask how the system's working. Think of it as scalability issues. This has to be designed for. That's what the Fifth Silicon Valley might do, if they can be a little 'meta' about it.

We've already got many countries in the world where the capitalization of the country's private banks completely dwarfs the GDP of the actual country. When the market capitalization of companies expand to completely dwarf the GDP of all countries, the companies are now the world's government for good or ill. At that point (hopefully before that point!) you start asking what the purpose of the system is, what its dependencies are.

If market capitalization is the only thing, does it still exist in the absence of humans? If it requires humans to matter (it might not, you can have automated systems weighing the values of these things), what kind of humans does it require?

Comment Re:There have been 4 "Silicon Valleys". (Score 2) 124 124

Would you say that it's a keen interest to replace systems based on human intervention, with systems based on algorithm and automation?

This can go two ways, it seems. On the one hand you can have automated systems competing to supplant entire industries while also maximizing their valuation as corporate entities: which means, taking all the money and keeping it, while putting entire industries out of work. For instance, transportation of goods. Truckers are a significant industry for employment and for the many subsystems that support them, but if you automate the whole thing with truck-sized robots (or national/global hypersonic cargo capsule networks) you can compel entire countries to turn to the automated solution by relying on its native efficiencies.

This quickly heads toward total collapse of society, as you've got very efficient goods distribution but only a few hundred kazillionaires who don't really need to buy many goods.

On the other hand, you can use the automation and efficiency gains to produce a world of leisure, and then deal with the problems of that as they arise. You have to sacrifice the score-keeping factor of capital, which also means the process of corporate valuation has to be re-thought: if nobody gets to win the grand prize that whole game changes. But, if feeding a human for a day (all agriculture, storage, foodmaking, transportation) used to cost $20 and with everything automated it costs $0.20, the nature of society changes radically. If letting a human ride any imaginable roller coaster requires the maintenance of expensive theme parks at $200 a day, but you can deliver exactly the same experience in VR for $0.002, reality starts to look like a mighty lame deal.

What I'm seeing is a keen interest to corner every possible market by automating it and starving it until it dies, in order to persuade Wall Street that you're a unicorn. This seems not quite ecologically sound, systemically, though I can't fault the accuracy of the perception. YES that's how the world works. We might want to have a look at all that. All of these systems, right down to markets and capitalism, are only human inventions

Comment Re:Ok, well, let's give up then (Score 2) 124 124

You're quite sure that turning the lights off is still up to you? An electric circuit has switches at both ends ;)

I suspect you're being sarcastic but you might as well be sincere for all the difference it makes. It's the system of continually ramping up the jackpots and pay-outs that is failing. It might be a natural consequence of market capitalism where people cannot fully inform themselves about all things.

In fact, with regard to public valuation, it's impossible for people to accurately inform themselves about this because it's purely a feedback loop of what other people think, making outright lying a winning strategy (especially when combined with bailing out before the thing crashes, like Enron did).

When you couple that with a culture that mandates socializing the losses from these games, to reward the wealthy people willing to play them and encourage them to play more and harder, truthfulness becomes completely unworkable and is at a devastating disadvantage. Basically you can't do that, it's a guarantee of tanking your valuation. Even if a person believes you, they're likely to conclude that other dumb investors will be tricked into acting against you, and therefore game theory says you've already lost.

So, literally, we do need to look at rewarding failures and low achievers simply in order to keep the wheels turning and the lights on at all. Making conscious decisions to reward the big winners inevitably means rewarding only the biggest liars, plus they're typically making a cash grab and running rather than building industries for the betterment of all.

Silicon Valley doesn't EMPLOY. The highest aspiration is to have a massive server farm minded by the CEO and one hapless sysadmin, replacing worldwide industries with millions of employees. You're right: it is over and people are gradually figuring that out. Whatever does end up replacing the system won't look like Silicon Valley. It's sort of a cancerous growth, diverting the resources of market capitalism into a feedback loop.

Comment Message from founder (Score 1) 124 124

Perhaps it's because you are looking to become rich beyond the dreams of avarice selling people an address book, to-do lists and email mass marketing, using a splashy website with big excited-looking people from stock photography. I see that

By using the Site and Application, you agree to comply with and be legally bound by the terms and conditions of these Terms of Service ("Terms"), whether or not you become a registered user of the Services.

and further that


I'm looking for content-acquiring behaviors but mostly what I'm seeing is a pattern where your company connects a service with a customer and is then paid instead of paying the service provider: plus if there are disputes, the service provider can skip arbitration or legal process and make the customer pay, not them for the damages, but pay your company instead. I guess that might be a hook for service providers, especially if they intend to file fraudulent damage reports. I'm not sure what you do about things like chargebacks: in my business I've found I'm relatively helpless against the things as credit card companies will do as they please.
Oh wait, I found the boilerplate:

you hereby grant to Bizlifter a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, view, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content on, through, or by means of the Site, Application and Services.

Transferable, huh? Sublicense, adapt?

Me, I just code DSP plugins for people. I don't advertise and my approach is rather the opposite of yours: far from jockeying into position for an IPO, I think mostly in terms of cash flow and living frugally so I can continue while living up to my principles. I don't need to recruit anybody and in fact it's sort of useful for me to fly under the radar: I've even been shouted out as a 'great small plugin developer' by a Massive Corporate Industry Leader (who disguises himself as another indie, but he's definitely playing your game and not mine) because I'm unthreatening, too small to be a serious rival in IPO World.

I figure if you have an Evil Hollywood CEO archetype, it's for a reason. And if there's negative GDP this quarter, it's because there are too many of you people doing what you do. You are NOT advancing human civilization. And to the extent that you're trying to paint your Bizlifter business as something Facebook/LinkedIn etc. aren't already doing, you're lying. What you're proposing is not only already happening, it may not be a great thing to be happening.

In that light, the fact that the lie of Silicon Valley is failing, is a good thing.

I do understand the defensive nature of all that legalese: it's actually dangerous for me to mouth off against you because I'm somewhat vulnerable against incurring the wrath of some internet jerkwad who'll botnet me to death or sink me with massive fraudulent sales and chargebacks. That's the internet for you. That's Silicon Valley for you. The idea is to be not only the biggest jerk on the block, but so aggressive that other sociopaths can't damage you. It doesn't leave a lot of room for little Vermont craftsmen hacker types such as myself (original context for hacker, not 'script kiddy tyrant of all destruction').

This is the reason I'd want to demonize that 1%. Firstly, you're not in it, you just want to be and you're acting like them to fit in. Secondly, they're not advancing human civilization, they're impeding it. I'm afraid you've got things sort of backwards.

Comment Saving Grace (Score 1) 352 352

There is one upside: the case where someone has their own expertise, which has value, but must be expressed by code to be functional.

Content-driven software. Stuff where the message or the payload is the valuable part, and the coding could be done by a variety of capable drones because it, itself, is not innovative at all.

In this case, we see a valuable thing (which may be able to stand up in a market economy on its own merits) given lower barriers to existence, by the software guys basically putting yourselves out of jobs: developing systems that can be effectively applied in generic ways by novices.

Seems, uh, generous, but knock yourselves out. I know I enjoy it when something like Unity comes out and I can play with game tech so easily, and then competing with the Unreal engine you get Unity making all their paid features also free in 5. A coder might have no idea what high dynamic range lighting is for, but somebody like me might respond, 'hey! Flares! For meeee? Thanks, anonymous coder guy who once would have justifiably charged me tens of thousands to get this working in a game, but now I can just use it and not even credit you or know who you were! This will help my idea look more impressive, assuming I have one.'

Again: seems kinda, erm, generous? But by all means, carry on. I'm not the expert coder here. I can only assume many of you guys are so totally insulated from the reality of the world that you'll blithely render your skills worthless in the 'free market' in the belief that you won't end up totally hosed by the resulting flooding of recycled crap.

And your skills might, just might, be cannibalized by somebody with some decent idea worthy of success, and you'll have helped them for free. It's nice of you though the chaos of crap-flooding is not quite as nice. But that's what you get when you wipe out all the structure of the situation and reduce it to raw chaos 'market'.

Comment Whoof, look at 'em go (Score 1) 352 352

I think it's very well established what happens. As with many fields before it, you're throwing stuff open to a market in blind faith that this'll do good things. Then, social engineers take over and squeeze out the capable, and as the general populace gets more desperate for survival, they flock to the new hope in great numbers, and flood out everything, The elitism is crushed, barriers go down and you get a problem where you can't get qualified people because they can't get a foothold against the sheer numbers of crap and therefore can't survive to hone their skills.

This is not an inherent problem with democratizing stuff, it's a problem with doing that and then throwing all competitors into a maximally free market where other factors besides merit are in play.

Time ain't fungible: if you learn a tiny itty bit of everything, you'll kinda suck. If you kinda suck at social engineering and marketing, you're going to fail in a market. The person who spends WAY more of their time at that will win. If they're a Swift programmer, they will not have spent their time learning to program correctly, and their product will be junk, but since people's awareness of their product is ENTIRELY dependent on the programmer's mad social marketing skills, it will dominate and starve out other projects.

If you devote all your effort to the quality of your project, you'll leave nothing over for social engineering, and your thing will die a horrible death: what happens is people glance at it and say 'gee, that looks amazing! Since absolutely nobody is interested, they must know something I don't. I'm not interested either.'

Areas that have been profoundly affected by this whole mechanic include popular music and game programming. Look at Steam Greenlight sometime. That's your free market future, and ability to manipulate the market will always be more profitable than trying to improve quality and hoping 'the market' will notice in a world where people specialize in bending the rules.

It produces a funny sort of stratification because if you do get a foothold you can build upon that, but it takes luck to even get that (plus quite possibly a lot of sacrifice and losing money, so you will have to already be wealthy or in some kind of protective situation where you can lose money building your toehold). You harden your position as somebody the market has recognized, doing whatever you can to augment that public awareness, and this gives you the basic minimum people are unjustifiably assuming is the norm: that, in doing something, you'll be seen at all to be judged.

At that point you can act like a market element competing, but in this situation of total noise and flooding, if you don't have that there IS no path to it. In the rigidly controlled, union, regulated, gatekeeper world so many Slashdotters hate, you're blocked by gatekeepers and you know who they are and can ask their terms and negotiate: pay, study for accreditations, make friends, whatever. In the free market world the gatekeeper is Brownian motion, and you can't negotiate with a force of nature or a law of statistics.

So no, 'everyone able to build amazing apps with Swift' is not what we really need. It seems populist but it's based on an underlying fantasy of removing all gatekeepers and letting 'the market' sort it out, and the market will pick social engineers and put up barriers more daunting than anything human gatekeepers can muster.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 618 618

Oh, wait, you didn't need to pass a test for that.

I'm just trying to think how that would have been possible. I think back then there was a medical exception you could plead for. I didn't. I passed the 20 WPM test fair and square and got K6BP as a vanity call, long before there was any way to get that call without passing a 20 WPM test.

Unfortunately, ARRL did fight to keep those code speeds in place, and to keep code requirements, for the last several decades that I know of and probably continuously since 1936. Of course there was all of the regulation around incentive licensing, where code speeds were given a primary role. Just a few years ago, they sent Rod Stafford to the final IARU meeting on the code issue with one mission: preventing an international vote for removal of S25.5 . They lost.

I am not blaming this on ARRL staff and officers. Many of them have privately told me of their support, including some directors and their First VP, now SK. It's the membership that has been the problem.

I am having a lot of trouble believing the government agency and NGO thing, as well. I talked with some corporate emergency managers as part of my opposition to the encryption proceeding (we won that too, by the way, and I dragged an unwilling ARRL, who had said they would not comment, into the fight). Big hospitals, etc.

What I got from the corporate folks was that their management was resistant to using Radio Amateurs regardless of what the law was. Not that they were chomping at the bit waiting to be able to carry HIPAA-protected emergency information via encrypted Amateur radio. Indeed, if you read the encryption proceeding, public agencies and corporations hardly commented at all. That point was made very clearly in FCC's statement - the agencies that were theorized by Amateurs to want encryption didn't show any interest in the proceeding.

So, I am having trouble believing that the federal agency and NGO thing is real because of that.

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