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Comment: Re:First grab (Score 1) 157

by davide marney (#48978647) Attached to: Major Record Labels Keep 73% of Spotify Payouts

I don't understand this analysis. Why are you showing "profit" as being equal to gross for some stakeholders (Composers, writers, performers), but as only 5% of gross for others (labels and platforms)? And, furthermore, what's up with "estimating" the profit margin at a single number, and then applying that same number to two very different operations (labels vs. platforms)? That looks quite strange.

Comment: Now, every problem must have a federal response (Score 1, Insightful) 417

by davide marney (#48810471) Attached to: Obama Unveils Plan To Bring About Faster Internet In the US

The President has sent his people out over the land, finding things that don't work very well. He will now spend the rest of his tenure urging various federal agencies and Congress to "stop doin' stupid stuff", accompanied, if possible, by some form of federal largess. Rinse. Relather. Repeat.

Comment: Re:Low turnout is not caused by the voting process (Score 1) 480

by davide marney (#48794749) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

No, the scores of organizations are there because it is to their benefit to get out the vote, not because the process is hard.

When I say the process isn't hard, I mean it literally isn't hard because I have watched tens of thousands of ordinary people go through it with no problems. Shoot, even people with physical disabilities somehow manage to cast a vote.

Comment: Low turnout is not caused by the voting process (Score 1) 480

by davide marney (#48794391) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

The causes of low voter turnout are many, and difficulty with the voting process itself is not one of them, except for one factor: waiting time in the big, popular elections. Waiting time is not a factor in most elections. I am an officer of election, and have worked the polls for nearly a decade.

Despite all the hullabaloo, it is not, in fact, difficult to register to vote. It is not, in fact, difficult to show up at a polling station, check in, and cast your vote. There are scores of organizations that exist merely to help people with the process.

So, the whole rationale behind this BitCoin idea falls on its face.

Comment: Because TEH ENTERPRISE (Score 5, Interesting) 293

by davide marney (#48660961) Attached to: Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi

"The hotel group found support from Cisco Systems. 'Unlicensed spectrum generally should be open and available to all who wish to make use of it, but access to unlicensed spectrum resources can and should be balanced against the need to protect networks, data and devices from security threats and potentially other limited network management concerns,' Mary Brown, Cisco’s director of government affairs, wrote.

While personal hotspots should be allowed in public places, the 'balance shifts in enterprise locations, where many entities use their Wi-Fi networks to convey company confidential information [and] trade secrets,' she added."

Why yes, the balance shifts in places like hotel conference centers, where many people use their own, personal hotspots precisely so they can better lock down confidential information. Please. This is a naked money grab. No more charging $thousands just for an Internet connection at a trade show.

Comment: This is not about cryptography (Score 3, Insightful) 103

by davide marney (#48541953) Attached to: Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History

The author says that "cryptography is underhanded", but you will look in vain to find any technical meaning of that phrase anywhere in the article. What he really means is that the major corporations (Google, Apple, et al.) are underhanded because they are working with state spies to cripple algorithms and put in back doors, etc.

But trying to cripple cryptography this is something we already are aware of, and there are ways to shore up the technology to make it much, much harder for government to spy on us in bulk. Even using weak, crippled cryptography forces the spies to expend computing resources. Cryptography is all about raising the cost of spying, when dealing with government, not with preventing spying.

Comment: Re:Vapor voting on its way out (Score 1) 401

by davide marney (#48300227) Attached to: US Midterm Elections Discussion

You do know that ballots "filled in by hand" are actually counted by machines, yes? No one literally counts ballots by hand, the error rate is over the top. Imagine 100 people counting 10,000 ballots: how many of them would you expect will come up with the exact same answer? And, if they don't agree, how will you tell which ones were counted correctly? The answer is, you'd look for a way to remove humans from the equation, because humans are notoriously bad at repetitive tasks. You will use a machine to do the counting. Every time.

The question you really should be asking yourself is, which is more error-prone? Optically scanning a hand-written ballot and counting the votes, or reading a touchscreen. Occam's Razor alone should convince you that the system with the fewer number of moving parts and chances for errors is the more reliable.

Comment: Re:The metaphysics of evolution are a different st (Score 1) 669

by davide marney (#48260259) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Hm, are you really sure about this? The tagline of evolution isn't, "survival of those who just happend to be here, in no particular order, and for no particular reason", but "survival of the fittest." "Fitness" is properly a design principle, I would argue; it is an optimization (selection) with a purpose (survival). Adding millions of years and hundreds of genetic mutations to the equation doesn't change any of that.

Even your statement that "very likely you'll see increased complexity over time" betrays (if that's not too strong a word) a hidden assumption of progress. Why very likely? If truly random, why not equally unlikely?

Comment: The metaphysics of evolution are a different story (Score 1, Interesting) 669

by davide marney (#48259469) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Behind the theory of classic evolution lies a metaphysical explanation for the universe: that life "progresses", from simple to complex, from the more fundamental to the more sublime, from problem to solution. The metaphysics of evolution is very much rooted in the philosophy of positivism and progressivism. It is anti-religious not in the sense that it is against the idea of a God, necessarily, but in the sense that the concept of a God is not needed to explain the natural world. God is irrelevant.

One does not hear debate on the metaphysics of evolution very often, and that is a shame. The philosophy of Progressivism, to me, seems more like wishful thinking, than a real explanation of why things are the they way they are. Is progress absolute? Certainly any objective evaluation of history, with its long record of extinctions, would seem to argue otherwise.

Regarding the Bible's metaphysics, however, there is absolutely nothing in common between progressivism and traditional Christian teaching. The very first chapter of the very first book lays it all on the line: God said, "Let there be light. And there was light..." and so on, for 65 more books. The doctrine of the Bible is that "in Him we live and move and have our being." This couldn't be more orthogonal to the doctrine of positivism.

So, while the Pope may rightly observe that a changing creation is still a creation, I'm not sure that really gets to the heart of the matter, which is a metaphysical argument about origins.

Comment: The "Great Man" theory of how progress is made (Score 1) 150

by davide marney (#48202719) Attached to: Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas?

Asimov's advice for how to run effective bull sessions for creative geniuses is based on the assumption that progress is made by a few "great men" who can see and imagine things that all others miss. This theory is not exactly politically correct these days, to say the least. Modern history books are full of attempts to find and highlight what I might call the "Forgotten Man" of history, the story of ordinary people who represent an entire class of people who collectively brought about change.

Personally, I subscribe to a combination of the two ideas. Masses of people lived for tens of thousands of years in exactly the same manner as their ancestors until someone came along with a genuinely new idea that was then adopted and perfected by mass experimentation and use. So: great men for the original ideas, but forgotten men for productizing them.

Comment: Re:The factors, condensed (Score 2) 447

by davide marney (#48129877) Attached to: Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

4. Taking marriage vows seriously. A vow is a promise, a promise you make primarily to yourself but of course also to your spouse and your children (if any). Life has ups and downs. When things get really rough, you will have to depend on the promise you made to keep you in the marriage until you can get to the other side.

That said, it is possible for your partner to make it impossible for you to keep your vow, by breaking the relationship itself. If someone is unfaithful and abandons the relationship, for example, or if your partner dies, no amount of trying on your part can repair that. In that case, I would say as there is no vow that can be kept, there is no vow at all.

Comment: Confluence is heads and shoulders above the rest (Score 1) 97

I've been involved in many, many projects to share internal knowledge over the years. I had pretty much given up all hope on wiki technology until I got to the latest versions of Confluence, which strikes an excellent balance between flexibility, simplicity, and automation.

Doing the task you outlined (create multiple playlists of media files) could be done in a variety of ways: Create a "File List" page and upload your content, then create separate pages linking to them; create a page and attach the multimedia files, then use the Multimedia Widget to automatically create a gallery of them to playback; or, host the files on a shared disk and link to them from Confluence.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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