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Comment: Re:"Free Market" religion (Score 1) 182

by duckintheface (#48847293) Attached to: Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

I think you're right Dragon. Truly free markets are a very efficient means of allocating resources. The problem is that markets have no way of determining the will of the majority of people. Maximizing profits is not hte same thing as determining what is best for society. The belief that it is the same thing is what I call a religion. Once society, through it's elected representatives, has decided on a course of action, truly free markets within a regulatory framework are the most efficient way to reach that goal.

Comment: Re:Great Part of Republican-backed Industry Bill (Score 2) 182

by duckintheface (#48846225) Attached to: Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

You are exactly right. The ISPs have always been short term in their thinking. Under Title II they will be providing better and cheaper content to thier customers which will result in more customers. There is a reason that Comcast has the worst consumer satisfaction of any US company, with Time Warner a close second. They try to milk their customers for every penny they can get with their predatory "promotional" pricing. And now they have begun to milk the third party providers of internet content as well.

Ironically, in the long run these ISPs will do very well under Title II becasue they will be forced to grow their user base instead of shrinking it as has been the case in recent years.

Comment: Re:Explain this to a non-Americal please.. (Score 4, Informative) 182

by duckintheface (#48846163) Attached to: Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

You ask a good question. Democrats could have passed a law in 2009 or 2010 when they controlled House, Senate, and White House. But they didn't, partly becasue they were busy collecting campaign contributions from these same ISPs. Obama has waited until after his personal last election and until after the next- to-last election under his presidency to propose rules that should have been in effect the whole time.

Aside from campaign contributions, there may be one other reason for the late start on Title II regulation. It is only recently that content providers such as Netflix and Amazon have started producing quality programming and distributing it on the internet rather than on the TV channels controlled by the ISPs. This has undercut the revenue stream of these ISPs and encouraged them to begin differential pricing based on content provider. Comcast now charges extra to Netflix even though Netflix customers already pay for their internet service directly to Comcast. So they are "double billing" for the same service. If allowed to get away with this, the ISPs can be expected to continue to ratchet up the cost of accessing third party content, becasue they control the pipes. But the pipes were developed at public expense and using public right-of-way and so should be treated as a regulated utility.

Comment: "Free Market" religion (Score 5, Insightful) 182

by duckintheface (#48846077) Attached to: Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

Does anyone think the sponsors of this legialation have serioulsly considered the issues of user access and cost? Of course not. As in so many areas of public life, Republicans have adopted the mantra of "free markets". Which is another way of saying on behalf of large corporations, "Let the Wookie win". Let the big strong arm-ripping behemoth have its way. This disregards the needs of the majority of the population and lets corporations take the profits resulting from public investment and tax dollars.

The internet has never been about "free markets". The internet was developed by the government and universities (with public funding). As far as the big ISPs are concerned, most of them, such as Comcast and Time Warner, make use of public right-of-way to carry thier signals to their customers. Most of this right-of-way was obtained either through imminent domain (for the public good) or for other purposes entirely (to carry power lines). This has resulted in a protected monopoly for these ISPs. They have no competition, the exact opposite of a free market.

Title II will treat the ISPs as utilities so that their rates will be controlled and their fiber optic cables will be available to all content providers under competitive conditions. This is really a free market in content, rather than the coroporate oligarchy envisioned by this Repucblican legislation.

Comment: Why choose sides? (Score 2) 258

Why do these AI experts assume that biological intelligence is better? If machines are smarter, if they can out-compete humans and florish.... why should they be controlled by an inferior life form? Are we biased in favor of ourselves (how unique is that?) or can we just let evolution, in the larger sense, take it's course?

Comment: Man vs Machine? (Score 4, Interesting) 289

by duckintheface (#48747951) Attached to: Extra Leap Second To Be Added To Clocks On June 30

There are two domains to consider.... human and computer. Humans won't notice or care about sunrise being off by one second or even much more than that. Computers need exact consistency. So the solution is, as stated, to update the clocks to the actual rotation only infrequently. Everyone, man and machine, will be happy.

Comment: Open clusters (Score 1) 104

In 2008 I visited an observatory in Dubbo, NSW, Australia run by Peter Neilson. There were several open cluster visable that were more spectacular than any visible from the Northern Hemisphere. Half the sky is not visible from the US so we should not assume that we got the better half. :)

Comment: Great programmers should get higher pay (Score 0) 552

by duckintheface (#48677797) Attached to: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Sure, let the best programmers in. But the law should require H1B immigrants to be paid 20% more than the average pay for workers at the same level. This would ensure that the immigrants really are exceptional and are not beng brought in to undercut the wages of citizens. Over time, if there are lots of immigrants under this 20% requirement, the average wage will rise and so the pay of additional immigrants will also rise. This will continue until it's cheaper to hire citizen workers.

Comment: Re:"pioneer inventor of new technology" ??? (Score 2, Insightful) 183

by duckintheface (#48674821) Attached to: Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

I guess you have made my case. :) Fonts. A minor derivative language. Astronomy visualization. For these the US taxpayer sacrificed $billons in lost revenue that had to be made up from the taxes of hard-working creative folks who actually make useful things. Gates didn't build his monopoly the old fashiioned (and legal) way. Microsoft inherited an OS monopoly from IBM becasue IBM was arrogant enough to think that only IBM could sell operating systems. Microsoft stole their monopoly in internet browsers from Netscape, for which they were convicted and fined (not heavily enough). Microsoft could go away tomorrow and the world would be a better place.

Comment: "pioneer inventor of new technology" ??? (Score 3, Interesting) 183

by duckintheface (#48674753) Attached to: Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

TFA calls Gates a pioneer. Well, the covered wagon part is right. Please name something of value that was invented by Gates himself. Give up? Ok, without looking it up.... name something of real scientific or technological value invented by Microsoft Research Labs. That lab allowed Gates to take enormous tax write-offs but never produced any scientific or tecnological break-throughs. But hey, it was all in good tax-dodging fun, right?

Comment: Mission Creep (Score 3, Interesting) 229

by duckintheface (#48652149) Attached to: GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

The warrantless wiretap surveillance of citizens was originally justified as a national security necessity to fight terrorism. But it is ostensibly being used for a different purpose.... law enforcement against drug crimes. And you can be sure that it will also be used for surveillance of political enemies and for industrial espionage. There is a reason the Constitution guanantees that no search can be made without a warrant. It's because the power to snoop is a drug in itself, addicting those who have it to abuse those who don't.

Comment: Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (Score 0) 156

by duckintheface (#48649953) Attached to: Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

A large impact could melt the crust of Earth to the mantle. Is that bad enough for you? There is no reason to think that impactors will be limited to mere Chicxulub size.
Distance to Mars per se is not the issue. It's the fuel requirement vs the transit time that matter. If human missions were sent at optimal planetary alignments and with constant ion engine acceleration, the transit time could be reduced to a few months. That reduces the need for on board life support, reduces radiation exposure, reduces health effects from zero gravity (since there would be "gravity" from the constant acceleration, and makes survival more probable.

What humans would do when they got there is what we are supposed to be doing here.... building civilization. The mission is not about science but about survival. That's why it's worth the blood and treasure.
You assume that our Earth civilization will still be able to support a Mars colonization mission in 5 centuries. I don't know when the pinnacle of technological civilization will occur. The sooner we get about the business of establishing a secondary self-sustaining outpost, the safer we will be.... from asteroids, runaway AI, grey goo, nuclear war, weaponized ebola, etc, etc.

I agree with you about the unsuitability of "inspiration" as a motive for colonization. I said that in my original post.

Comment: Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (Score 0) 156

by duckintheface (#48648577) Attached to: Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

And what are people in space thinking about? They are mostly thinking about maintaining their habitat.... which is not necessary unless you insist on having people in space. Activities in near Earth orbit are close enough (by light speed signals) that the thinking can be done on the ground. Activities in deep space are very expensive and dangerous to maintian if you have human participants. That money would be better spent develping smarter robots.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval