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Comment Re:Gas (Score 1) 54

But you see, it isn't even "oversupply."

Rather, it's "decreasing but not eliminating the artificial supply constraint."

Even today's prices are higher than they would be without the cartel.

That said, the world changed with the Saudi policy of letting prices go below our production cost.

Oh, dear, they'll sell us their oil for less than it costs to produce our own. I'm terrified.

And don't throw me in the briar patch, either . . .


Comment Re:10% more transmittance for glass? (Score 2) 29

That is one of those Wikipedia articles which is a bit vague about what it means. It's doesn't make sense to intend to say that glass transmits 90% of incident light regardless of the thickness. The Wikipedia entry references a single optical "element", so I'd take "the transmissivity of one element (two surfaces) is about 90%," to mean that 10% is the lower limit of light loss for a single lens of arbitrary thinness.

Now if a very thin silica glass lens transmits 90% of the light falling on it, then clearly it'd be very difficult to conceive of a material that transmits 10% more light than that. However you can achieve whatever level of attenuation you wish by making your piece of glass sufficiently (possibly absurdly) thick. The three inch thick glass panes used in giant ocean tanks are noticeably more opaque than air. Clearly it's physically possible for a material to transmit 10% more light than the same thickness of glass -- for a sufficient thickness. Particularly if the index of refraction of that material is closer to air.

Of course that's where we get to the point that the summary is badly written too. Silica glass *is* very transparent; insufficient transparency isn't a problem in window applications, if there's a problem it's that the material is too transparent. That's why we have dark tinting and anti-IR coating. So it's not clear why we would care that the material can transmit 10% more light. Clearly the story got garbled somewhere along the way.

Comment Re:Get a feature phone, dumbass. (Score 1) 248

You know what's going to happen if you rely on a pager, don't you? Nobody will know how to contact you on that.

Which, indeed, is a feature -- not a bug. Anyone you want to reach you you give them the secret formula: call my pager's phone #, and when you hear the beep enter your phone number followed by #. Or if you need to send text, send an email to If you can't handle that I don't want to hear from you.

Oh, and a feature phone is fine solution if it's OK that you can't be reached when you're in a tunnel or some other places the VHF phone band can't reach but typical pager frequencies can.

Comment a Vaudeville hook for the Vaudeville crook (Score 1) 147

He goes on to say, "Our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms."

Make that retroactive, pretty please, so as to retroactively revoke the ridiculous retroactive extensions.

The whole thing flies in the face of even libertarian notions of contract: that you only get what you shake for, in the first instance.

Douglas Adams used to quip "I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they whoosh past." Market capitalists love markets. They love the sound the rigging makes as it twangs in the salty sea air. "Arrrr, r-r-r-r-retroactively extended copyright. First we shakes, then we takes."

Comment Re:Why only trees? (Score 1) 74

And, then it says, you just put hundreds of thousands of these things under highways, and start reaping a non-trivial amount of electricity

And cause a non-trivial increase in rolling resistance and reduction in mileage of the victim vehicles. That energy had to come from somewhere, and collecting it has side-effects.

TANSTAAFL: The first law of thermodynamics as well as economics.

The trees, on the other hand, may appreciate some energy-absorbing sway damping - especially in a storm. (As long as it doesn't interfere with pumping the water up the trunk to the leaves, of course.)

Comment Re:Too bad they pushed Love out (Score 1) 221

Oops, got the history horribly mixed up. Try this:

Written in 1976, under licensing granting source use in classes, suppressed with the release of System 7 in 1979, which didn't include this license term, (after which Unix source code was deleted from classes and the two-volume set became an underground copier-room classic), general distribution of "ancient source" (including System 6) authorized by SCO and the book reprinted with the 1977 version of the commentary (plus a forward by Ritchie) in 1996.

Comment Re:Too bad they pushed Love out (Score 1) 221

What was the title of those text books?

Lions' Commentary on UNIX 6th Edition, with Source Code, a.k.a. "The Lions Book".

Written in 1976, under licensing granting source use in classes, suppressed with the release of System 7, which didn't include this license term, (after which Unix source code was deleted from classes and the two-volume set became an underground copier-room classic), general distribution of "ancient source" (including System 6) authorized by SCO in 1976, reprinted in 1977 with updated commentary and again with added historical commentary in 1996.

See the above-referenced Wikipedia article for ISBNs, more details, and links to more history.

Comment Re:Devices should be de-brickable (Score 1) 147

Yes, yes, that's all very clever of you, except for the fact that iPhones do have that. You can reset the firmware, or all the internal storage, from a plugged-in computer. Almost every single byte of internal flash can be rewritten by Apple, or, hell, by an end user with iTunes. (I think the only parts that can't be overwritten are the parts that allow the phone to enter recovery.)

These 'bricked' phones? They enter recovery mode just fine, and all their internal memory can be rewritten just fine. Everything works fine there.

The problem here is that the current time, of course, is not part of a system recovery, because the damn current time is not saved to the phone's flash memory. How would that even work?

The clock in an iPhone operates the same way the clock in a PC operates, in a separate very low-power clock-tracking chip that runs off a battery. (Which in this case is the device battery.) There is absolutely no way to alter this from outside the device, and, really, no device has even needed such an ability before. iOS just has a really stupid bug.

And the way the iPhone is designed does not allow easy removal of the battery, which, really, is the problem here. If Android had this problem, it would be laughed off, 'Just unplug the battery, that will fix it'. But you can't do that with an iPhone.

I suspect that, within days, Apple will have produced a iOS update that can be put on the device (Even after it has been 'bricked'.) that either checks the time and fixes it, or just doesn't have whatever bug is causing this in the first place. (In fact, it should be possible to put a tiny image on there whose sole purpose is to change the clock, and then put the *original* image back.)

Comment Re:Extra battery? (Score 1) 248

They are. I have a 15000 mAh unit; two, 2.4 ampere outputs. Wouldn't be without it, can't really, at least unless the companies making the cellphones stop putting too-small batteries in them. last weekend I drove five hours, during about 3 of which we were either completely out of contact or only in distant contact with a cell tower (Montana... lots and lots of empty space.) When we left the city, my phone was at 25%. I kept the phone (a Galaxy Note III with an aftermarket "big" battery that's good for about 48 hours here, where we're within about 4 miles of a cell tower) plugged into the external unit for the entire trip, and when we got home, the phone was at 100% and the external unit at 45%, which allowed for both charging it and running it.

Really, won't even consider being without that external unit. As for a pager... no. Just no.

Comment Re:Why not overseas .... (Score 1) 152

I agree with a lot of your points, but I've encountered many managers that you wouldn't consider "good managers".

And WRT your final paragraph...automation is going to make a job based economy a guarantee that nearly everyone is at the very bottom rung. We are already at the point where the US and India are BOTH losing jobs to increased automation, and we are still in the early days. Projections call for over half of the existing jobs to disappear within around a decade. And I don't think anyone can predict which ones will be safe. (Except upper management, and that's because they are the ones making the decisions.) As this continues it will become more and more evident that it's foolish to take on a large debt with the intention of paying it off after entering a profitable career. It isn't clear to me what is going to motivate people to study for years. (Well, I would have done it because I was fascinated by math and physics, but mine is a minority perspective, and I would have studied, albeit in a less directed and intense way, even if college had been impossible.

I agree that trade has in the past acted to suppress war. I'm not sure it's working that way in the present. Certainly simple economic arguments don't apply. The US spent more to invade Iran than the entire wealth of the country would have represented if we'd carted it off, and we didn't bother. It was politics extremely much more than economics. (I've heard it asserted that the reason for the war was that Iran started negotiating to sell oil denominated in Euros rather than Dollars. I know of no evidence either pro or con, but it's the most reasonable reason I've heard, if it's true. And since all the other reasons seem utter garbage, I tend to believe it.)

The argument that trade suppresses war has it's shining examples, but there are also many cases where it appears that war is engaged in to control trade.

Now, "Our real problem isn't that China makes t-shirts": That's not clear, or perhaps not exact to the point I was asserting. T-shirts was an example of an industry that isn't inherently centralized. Another such industry is software construction, but notice that due to the laws, customs, and business regulations of the US most software development (for profit) *IS* centralized. How things could be changed is not a subject on which I am competent to speak, but I am competent to observe the pattern. My suspicion is that this has to do with the distribution system. I have heard that to get notable promotion by or positioning within a store, you need to ... compensate ... the store owner. I used compensate where I would have liked to say bribe. I feel the process should be as illegal as other sorts of kickback, and the laws against all forms of kickback should be more rigorously enforced. Even the existing laws against bundling are either not enforced, or need to be considerably stronger.

But these are details. There are nearly endless details, it's the summation of them that tends to encourage the formation of large organizations with centralized control, not any particular one. (An exception might be the wretched and unjust Citizens United decision...though I might go back to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 US 394 (1886) and find that it, and all decisions based upon it were likewise unjust. [Or perhaps the original decision was just, but the way that it was phrased made it unjust.])

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