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Comment: Re:Does he stand a chance? (Score 1) 161

by david_thornley (#48663305) Attached to: 'Citizenfour' Producers Sued Over Edward Snowden Leaks

There is some logic here, but it's tricky and thin.

If information is released publicly, there's still reasons to keep it classified. Once it's unclassified, anybody with a FOIA request can verify it, but if it's still classified there's at least some plausible deniability. The government can claim that some of the documents don't really mean what they say, or were faked, or whatever. It may not apply in any particular situation, but somebody has to make that determination, and until formally declassified it's still classified.

It's easier and simpler to tell people not to read classified information than to tell them not to read classified information except from publicly available sources. It makes investigation easier: if you know that document X should not be in the browser cache, it's easier if you don't have to figure out where it came from.

Security clearances are not mandated except if you want a certain job, but are rather voluntary, and in this case there's some reason to have strict rules that are clear and don't involve judgment.

Comment: Re:I had this problem, then I got f.lux. (Score 1) 174

by david_thornley (#48662997) Attached to: Study: Light-Emitting Screens Before Bedtime Disrupt Sleep

When things are light, and so there is less of a need to rely on the monitor's brightness

I don't get this. You don't see an image on a monitor through reflected light, you see it from the light emitted by the monitor. I need more light when it's bright out, because it has to outshine the ambient light to be seen.

Comment: Re:What about... (Score 1) 174

by david_thornley (#48662947) Attached to: Study: Light-Emitting Screens Before Bedtime Disrupt Sleep

I've tried more technical stuff on my eInk reader, and it doesn't work. It's great for reading something from start to finish, as long as I don't care about illustrations, and I read a whole lot of things that way, including anything I'd want to read around bedtime. It's lousy with PDF files, since it isn't big enough for most of them, and Calibre is iffy on converting PDF to ePub.

Comment: Re:Rape comes in many forms : sexual, economic, et (Score 1) 186

by david_thornley (#48661671) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

If somebody sticks a penis into you without your consent, it's rape. When somebody removes money from your wallet without consent, that's robbery. The key words here are "consent".

Nobody is making you buy a ride from Uber, and nobody's going to guarantee to provide a service with a significant marginal cost at whatever money you think is appropriate.

Comment: Re:Detect price gouging (Score 1) 186

by david_thornley (#48661641) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

I can pay for the right to use HOV lanes on at least one freeway around here, so I can go in a faster lane than people who don't (and who don't carpool).

Grocery stores don't conduct auctions because their customers would hate it, and would go to other grocery stores.

If you get into an accident, you will get emergency care triaged by seriousness of injury. Any care after that, in the US, depends on ability to pay.

People tend to hate surge pricing, but it is economically efficient.

Comment: Re:Detect price gouging (Score 1) 186

by david_thornley (#48661595) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

Isn't this more of a reason to make sure everybody gets enough money to afford a Uber ride than to ban surge pricing? Since surge pricing gets more Uber cars on the road, it gets people to their destinations faster on the average.

Most people who can afford Uber in the first place can manage surge pricing if they really need to, and with surge pricing they'll get a ride faster that way. Obviously, some people have to watch their dollars closely, but they aren't going to be using Uber much anyway.

Comment: Re:Surge pricing during security incident (Score 1) 186

by david_thornley (#48661547) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

Do the services lie unused? Uber drivers are independent people deciding if they want to be driving or not, given the fares. This isn't a taxi company which will have roughly the same number of cabs on the streets no matter what the demand, and even then the fare has to pay for the gasoline consumed. With Uber, drivers have to be willing to operate on the current fare structure. Therefore, given little demand, the supply will also go down.

One thing that surge pricing does is inform drivers that they can be making lots of money, and therefore more drivers will be available to drive people around at the higher fares. It also discourages people who have no particular need to use Uber at the time, which automatically prioritizes who should get rides.

This isn't capitalism. It's more basic than that. It's the law of supply and demand, carefully packaged up.

Comment: Re: not original (Score 1) 186

by david_thornley (#48661445) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

A fire brigade is much like insurance, in that it alleviates large but rare losses. For that to work, it's necessary for people to contribute to the fire brigade, with taxes or service fees, while not expecting to need them. People who don't contribute aren't in the insurance pool, and therefore it's reasonable to charge them the whole cost (including marginal costs and amortization of fixed costs), which is high because fire brigades aren't cheap. It has nothing to do with surge pricing.

One thing about your earlier example is that generators are not normally a necessity. There are people who do need the power, and the emergency response people can deal with that. Otherwise, it's a matter of wanting power sooner, and so is optional. Is getting a generator now worth twice the normal cost, or would you prefer to wait until the main power is on, and maybe then pay normal price of a generator? Price limits on necessities have some justification, although that can lead to inefficient distribution and shortages, but price limits on luxuries don't seem to make sense to me at all.

Comment: Re:Who wants to live forever? (Score 1) 439

by david_thornley (#48660825) Attached to: How Venture Capitalist Peter Thiel Plans To Live 120 Years

As a 60-year-old, I'm very interested in living beyond my 60s. Most of the older people I know were reasonably healthy through their 70s, although the 80s got iffy, and I'd be just as happy missing what happened to them in their 90s. There really isn't that much shortage of resources, so by dying at 60 you're not giving a 20-year-old a chance to live.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.