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Comment: Re:Old news. (Score 2) 194

by dgatwood (#48644377) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

I don't know about your country, in mine it's easy: You rear end someone, you're guilty. Period. There is no good explanation you could possibly give why you couldn't keep enough distance that you had enough time to react and stop your vehicle before slamming into another one.

Actually, there's one exception. If a driver slams on his or her brakes right after making a sudden lane change into your lane, then the accident is almost always the fault of the driver in front. However, without a dashboard camera, you're unlikely to be able to prove that the driver in front did this unless the driver admits fault, which is why this is a very common form of insurance fraud.

Comment: Re:What a gap... (Score 1) 129

by Richard_at_work (#48632201) Attached to: Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

Myself and my wife switched to the N900 in 2010 - we both ended up hating it, I switched back to my iPhone 3G within 3 months, while my wife stuck it out until she could renew the contract, by which time the keyboards on both our phones were dead (she had to switch to my phone after 9 months due to the fact her keyboard had lost all coating on the keys and several keys had stopped working).

The screen was terrible, the OS was bad, the keyboard was horrific.

Why do people love the N900 so much?

Comment: Re:But...but...but...she has a VAGINA!! (Score 1) 222

by thesandtiger (#48630783) Attached to: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

Given that the criteria I listed for "men who can't" have nothing to do with the criteria you used, your comment doesn't really make sense. But, what the heck, I feel charitable - please go ahead and feel like you told me off most righteously.

And, by the way - the "cartoon-quality villains" I "made up"? Read any story on slashdot that talks about women in tech or minorities in tech and tell me people exactly like the ones I used as examples of "men who can't" don't exist.

Comment: Re:Embrace (Score 1) 216

by Richard_at_work (#48624543) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Actually you are wrong - the cross platform .Net Core is a new implementation entirely separate from Mono (the demo they showed running in a Docker Linux container involved no Mono code at all, it was all MS inhouse stuff), although MS are working with Ximaran to expand their development tools and support the Mono platform.

Comment: Re:Economists shconomists (Score 1) 658

by dgatwood (#48622525) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Why multiple jobs? Because they're only getting so many hours each job, because if they'd work more they'd be elegible for benefits.

This is why we need to just have a government-provided baseline health insurance system, with the ability for folks to buy insurance to supplement it, if desired.

With that said, you could go a long way towards fixing the problem by making proportional health insurance coverage mandatory for all employees regardless of hours. Working 10 hours per week? The employer has to pay 25% of your health insurance costs, as a separate line item, above and beyond your wages. The entire notion of benefits being available only if you fall above some arbitrary threshold is just plain silly, and is practically designed for abuse.

Comment: Re:Good, we're not trying to create more work (Score 1) 658

by dgatwood (#48622417) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Lawrence: Well, you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he's broke, don't do shit.

This describes completely what most people would do if they had the option.

The problem is, there are two magic lines. The first magic line is the point where you no longer need money to survive. Above that point, you can goof off and not do anything, and because most people are only self-motivating in groups, unless you happen to know a bunch of other people, you're unlikely to do much. Yes, you'll work on projects, and you'll make some progress on some of them, but you'll also end up goofing off a lot. The second magic line is the point where you have enough money to ensure that a dozen other people also don't have to work to survive. When you pass that point, suddenly you're able to form groups of people to work on interesting projects. Those groups tend to be self-motivating, so you start to accomplish things.

As a result, you're right that most people would do nothing, but that's mainly because so very few people have the option of not working. Once you get a critical mass—once you have enough unemployed people in a single area who aren't panicking trying to find jobs so they can eat and have a roof over their heads, things just start happening in ways that are wildly unpredictable, and often quite useful and interesting.

If you need proof of that, just look at all the cool things people create at a typical college. That's a perfect microcosm showing what a world would be like if everyone could survive without working. In college, the majority of people either don't work or do minimal work-study jobs related to their field of study to get extra spending money. Sure, some people spend their free time partying, but others create really cool things like independent films, small businesses, Facebook....

Comment: Re:Good, we're not trying to create more work (Score 1) 658

by dgatwood (#48622115) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Second people who don't actually own any property -- Renters of all kinds, the cost of property taxes on the occupied property are passed on.

Yes, and that's why taxes on businesses don't work, either. They end up getting passed on as a glorified sales tax, and the people at the bottom pay all of it, while the people who own the business don't pay any of it.

The retired -- never mind retired folks that still live at home probably consume the least in terms of local public resources they stuck paying the taxes even without the income to support it.

Most sane property tax laws have limitations on valuation that kick in when you hit 65, precisely to ensure that seniors don't lose their homes.

No property taxes are pretty much bullshit. The only fair taxes are consumption based taxes.

See, that's where you lost me. Most participation in our economy is not in the form of sales, but rather the exchange of services for work, stock and bond exchanges, etc. And yes, I see that you plan to treat stocks as sales. The problem is, taxing sales regardless of whether you make or lose money causes people to hold securities longer and decreases speculation, which results in stocks having less liquidity, and basically breaks the market.

IMO, we should instead treat capital gains as ordinary income, with a small exemption sufficient to cover saving money for retirement. Because you only take the hit when you actually gain money, such a scheme is much less likely to significantly depress the stock market. Also, by making the taxation be proportional to your gains, you have the advantage of making the people who have the most money pay the most in taxes. By contrast, your scheme will lead to exactly the same sorts of abuse that we've seen with California's prop 13—businesses buy property and hold it forever, leasing it rather than selling it, to ensure that they never pay any taxes. The people with the most money end up paying the least in taxes, and the people at the bottom end up paying the most.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 658

by dgatwood (#48621797) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

If you only need some small percentage of the actual human labor, you could simply reduce any one individuals work in order to allow for more people to share the burden. For example, if we drop the work week to 30 hours, suddenly you can employ 33% more people in order to accomplish the same amount of work. This of course assumes that there are others capable of doing that work and that's questionable to some degree.

For jobs where humans are cogs in a machine, that works. For jobs that require interaction and higher-order brain skills, the communication burden is likely to increase with the square of the number of people involved, so you rapidly hit a point of diminishing returns, where your choices are either A. come up with unnecessary work to keep everyone occupied, or B. pay people to not work. Certainly choice A is simpler, but choice B has the potential to create a new renaissance of artistic work that is currently stymied by lack of free time, so there's something to be said about that approach—making work something you do to be able to afford nice things without scrimping and saving, rather than something you do to stay alive.

We might also greatly increase the number of educators.

If we assume that everyone is good at teaching, that would be a great idea. Classes work a lot better with smaller class sizes. IMO, you really can't usefully learn anything in a class of 200 people. You might as well tell the students, "Read the book and we'll take a quiz on it" or hand them a DVD to watch for all the good those classes do. They're basically a complete waste of educators' time that could better be spent actually working with the students. Unfortunately, the state isn't willing to pay the cost of hiring enough teachers to actually teach them correctly, with sane class sizes, and to fix that, we'd actually have to fund our public universities, which is something that the general public seems to like doing even less than funding social programs, for some bizarre reason.

In short, it's a great idea, but I'm going to grow two more arms and become the king of soldering before that happens.

Comment: Re:Embrace (Score 2) 216

by Richard_at_work (#48620567) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

I'm confused - what does Microsoft see as being able to "extend" or "extinguish" by open sourcing their own products? Sure, that may be a goal if they get involved in third party products, but its pretty hard to extend and extinguish other products by being actively involved in the development of their own.

At the moment my .Net stack is looking more and more open each day, but that doesn't harm PHP, Python, Java etc because it doesn't affect them in the slightest. All it means is I'm less likely to use them because my current stack looks better and better.

If you mean they wish to extend and extinguish the entire open source movement, well thats just ridiculous - you can't force people off Python, Perl, PHP, Java etc, you can't force communities to switch wholesale to your platform, they will always go on until the platform is irrelevant, but to achieve irrelevancy in a competing product yours has to be better.

Comment: Re: But but but (Score 3, Insightful) 324

by dgatwood (#48617255) Attached to: 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

Truth is no one wants to solve the water problem.

This. If there weren't a drought, they'd have to come up with some other means of artificially forcing ascetic behavior on everyone. That's what environmentalists do these days—keep the public's attention on them by taking things away from everyone. See also light bulbs, plastic bags, electricity conservation, etc., most of which don't actually have the results they're hoping for.

For example, any power conservation (including bulb bans) results first and foremost in a reduction of the most expensive power—baseline nuclear and/or spending towards future renewable power—not the cheapest, dirtiest power. If anything, the best way to get cleaner power is to use a lot more power to force them to build more clean power plants, then cut back usage to earlier levels and demand that they shut down coal plants through legislation. Cutting consumption first provides little to no benefit.

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 1) 166

by dgatwood (#48617153) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

The term "end-to-end crypto" says nothing about who else might have the crypto key. Just blindly assuming that no one in the middle has it, it is a real shortcoming.

If anyone else has the key, then the system is pretty much useless. Cell networks already use encryption between your handset and the towers (which gets stronger periodically as folks crack the existing protocols), and the wires are only tappable by the government, realistically, which means Verizon's end-to-end encryption offers you exactly zero advantage over the encryption that you would otherwise be using without paying for it.

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