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Comment: Case In Point: Maui Electric (Score 2) 497

by cmholm (#48465935) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?
A few years back, Maui Electric upgraded their power distribution system by replacing wooden poles with steel towers. The claim was that the towers are much more typhoon-resistant, and I'm sure they are. However, given the aerodynamics of round cable, it's a given that the lines will still part in a gale. Why not bury the line? Because for most parts of the island, you hit blue rock (solid lava) within a few feet, and it's expensive to trench through. On the flip side, you only need to trench once, but Maui Electric decided to play the odds and go cheap.

Comment: Great, Another "2nd Amendment Solution" Fetishist (Score 1) 202

by cmholm (#48390347) Attached to: Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

According to the US constitution, arms is the correct approach to governmental oppression.

Ah, no, but thanks for playing. We are currently at a phase when civil participation in the political process is the correct approach. An armed approach is inefficient, and repeated resort to that approach leads to repeated resort to that approach. In addition, to burst a popular bubble, if you're imaging armed participation, it's very likely someone will pry it out of your cold, dead hands.

If you let a reasonably open and civil political system get to the point where an armed approach is the efficient solution, you've been sitting on the sidelines and/or remained clueless for too long. Just to be clear regarding our current situation, how you feel about cultural issues, "Obamacare", or abortion aren't relevant.... until someone comes along who really does care how you feel about it, and uses all that neat anti-terrorist infrastructure to show just how much.

Changing the oil is greatly preferable to replacing the engine.

Comment: Another Gated Community (Score 2) 237

by cmholm (#48384337) Attached to: Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

I don't begrudge Lyft and Uber as an experiment in alternative transport. I think the growing sharing culture is a symptom of middle class economic stagnation, such that people are "driven" to monetize the spare capacity in their personal transport, their homes, etc.

What concerns me is that they are likely cherry picking transportation consumers. Those who can normally afford to spring for Lyft are then less likely to use public transport, and become alienated to its broader utility, much as those who live in gated communities aren't as concerned about addressing the crime rate in the surrounding community.

Comment: A Poetic Simulation? (Score 1) 745

by cmholm (#46262429) Attached to: Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

We are a pattern recognizing species. Mathematics is but a means of description, of writing out the patterns we see. Another is spoken or written prose, or poetry. Are we a poetic imagining within the mind of a (relatively) god-like Li Bai/Hafez/Yeats. Anthropocentrism by any other name would seem as likely.

Comment: 1995: "Unbundle The OS, 2014: "Unbundle The H/w" (Score 3, Interesting) 249

by cmholm (#46183661) Attached to: Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone

The margins on Android phones are razor thin. Apple has complete control over the iPhone, giving them a plausible rationale for marketing a premium phone. If they release an Android phone, that rationale evaporates.

How well has Nokia made out since dumping Symbion and MeeGo for someone else's OS? Yeah, that bad.

Comment: Fahrenheit 451 Opening Sequence (Score 1) 212

by cmholm (#45867887) Attached to: First US Public Library With No Paper Books Opens In Texas

Moments after the enabling regulations for the Banning Of Other Known Sources of Sufficiently Unverified Codexes ("BOOKS SUC") Act of 2051 are published, e-book readers across the nation delete all content excepting certain approved technical references. Subsequently, the long work of weeding out the hoarded dead tree editions begins.

Comment: De Industrializing Australia (Score 1) 122

by cmholm (#45687845) Attached to: Australia's National Broadband Network Downgraded

The current national Liberal Party policy seems to be limited to 1) balance the budget without added revenue, and 2) cut revenues they don't feel they should collect. The result is that the mining tax will go away, and due to very low tariffs and deletion of subsidies that ameliorate the effects of the strong AU$ that Aussie ores create, most manufacturing will go away. Ford and Holden closing up shop is just part of the trend.

So, yah want an information economy to go with those fries? Sorry mate, costs more than we want to spend, and what would you do with all that bandwidth, anyway? You don't know, you say? Back in my day, dialup was good enough. What does YouTube have to do with it?

Comment: Free Rider (Score 1) 629

by cmholm (#45547897) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are We Older Experts Being Retired Too Early?

> No paperwork. No taxes. No health insurance. No legal liability.

It would appear that ShanghaiBill is either a free rider. If he were hiring locally in Pakistan or China, he might be able to avoid some of these "costs", but not all. In fact, there would be additional costs, in the form of bribes and kickbacks to get his infrastructure up and stay up, poor security for his person, and arbitrary application of laws, regulations, and jurisprudence when he comes in contact with organs on the government. Instead, Bill huddles within the relative safety what I'll assume is an OECD member state, probably the US, and skates on covering a good portion of the costs that make his cozy existence possible.

What an amoral fucker. All "Wealth of Nations", without the "Theory of Moral Sentiments".

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra