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Comment: Re:Tree of liberty (Score 1) 279

by ultranova (#48670647) Attached to: UK Man Arrested Over "Offensive" Tweet

Well, as they say, the tree of liberty needs to occasionally be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots. It appears that their tree is in need of some watering.

Neither the US nor the UK have tyrants. They have officials who were elected by popular vote. So unless you were planning immolating yourself in front of Buckingham Palace as a protest for your country's policies, the quote is not really appropriate.

Democracies reflect their citizens. You don't have to like that reflection, but if you don't, breaking the mirror only adds more disfigurements from the flying shards.

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 621

by ultranova (#48670441) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

So what? We already made that choice to do so. Forcing companies to go with automation over employment doesn't make this situation any better.

We decided to not let people starve, and institutionalized that decision in the form of social security. However, setting up said social security in such a way that businesses suffer less costs from paying their employees insufficient wages than they would without social security in place - because automation is not free - creates perverse incentives. It rewards paying employees less and punishes any competitors who pay decent wages. That's a dumb and arguably evil thing to do.

Comment: the writing was on the wall after the first movie (Score 1) 324

by epine (#48670343) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

There were enough tells in the first movie that I decided to skip both prequel sequels. My only regret concerns the movie not made.

The problem when you have a strong emotional investment in something is that one's instinct is to give it one more chance. By the time you've watched two bad movies, you're almost pot-committed to watch the third.

It takes a special will to abandon a franchise without falling into the emotional mulligan trap, and so there's ultimately little incentive for Jackson to not do what he did.

I'm slowly learning. My loyalty function has now evolved to where it's almost vertiginous.

Comment: Re:Precious Snowflake (Score 1) 323

by epine (#48656211) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

A simple spanking is not "physical violence".

No, it's aversive physical dominance. Any more hairs you would like to split, or are we done now?

Aversive: the recipient is not pleased about it.

Physical: there's a smacking sound.

Dominance: the recipient's preference in the moment doesn't count for shit.

Maybe he or she will thank you later with a greater understanding of the situation. Or maybe not.

To my mind your story could be an argument for more effective barriers. If you're going to make a barrier to enforce safety, go big or go home. Otherwise you're just conducting a first lesson in Jr Steeplechase.

Comment: it wasn't about text-to-speech (Score 2) 288

by epine (#48652889) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

From Hyphen Hate? When Amazon went to war against punctuation

A ridiculous number of people have gotten caught up in the whole âoehe used a minus sign instead of an ascii hyphen! The bastardâ controversy that has followed this thread around and has spilled over into any number of internet message boards. First of all, let me be clear. The issue was not with my use of a minus sign. The issue Amazon had was that someone had complained about hyphenation. Second, I have since gone back and checked the original file on the Kindle text-to-speech app and it renders fine. No issues. [my emph.]

<acerbic>
These days 75% of all Slashdot posts seem to involve drilling down to get the original story straight. Tell me, when did a mass-confusion clusterfuck become the new nerd foreplay? Kindle typography, meet declining Slashdot editorial standards. You've got more in common than you think.
</acerbic>

Comment: Re:Why dashcams? (Score 1) 93

by ultranova (#48646433) Attached to: Seattle Police Held Hackathon To Redact Footage From Body Cameras

Dashcams stay on the cruiser which is always in a public space. There is no need to redact that video unless you have something to hide.

So, just hypothetically speaking, you would be okay with being followed and every single one of your actions recorded and publicly reported 24/7? Because with modern computer vision and ubiquitous cameras, that question is becoming less hypothetical every day. And that, in turn, is quickly turning the entire society into a giant panopticon.

Look up Finlandization. Hell can take many forms, and none are made better by being forced to smile and pretend everything's okay.

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 621

by ultranova (#48644457) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Who's going to employ poor people once you destroy the businesses who employ poor people?

The question is not who employes them, the question is who pays for their living expenses. If companies don't pay a living wage, then that's you and me.

Society is not a suicide pact.

?

These people are paid so little because their labor is worth so little. Making them unemployable doesn't make their labor worth any more than it currently is.

Then it shouldn't really matter if they're employed or not, now should it? After all, if their labor is worth little, then the economy is little affected if it's removed, right?

We will see not only jobs moved to other parts of the world, but the automation as well. Call it "race to the bottom", "exporting the pollution", whatever, but it remains that a growing amount of valuable economic activity has been chased out of the developed world and it's not coming back.

What valuable economic activity would that be? Surely you aren't referring to activities so unprofitable that paying minimum wage for them is a "punishment"?

Manufacture for example. And Walmart and McDonald's do have valid business models and very useful services that depend on low wages. They can achieve that by automation or by paying people what they're worth.

You can't have it both ways. Either these people's labor is valuable, or it is not. If it is, then pay them for it. If it's not, then it doesn't matter whether they're employed or not, because they're poor either way and the economy is by definition unaffected by losing low-value labour; the only ones affected is McDonald's and Wal-Mart who'll have to shell out for automation rather than continue having their profits subsidized by having me pay their workforce. Which one is it?

Comment: Re: News at 11.. (Score 1) 716

by ultranova (#48644393) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Says the guy who doesn't know what "begging the question" means...

"Begging the question" has multiple meanings: the literal meaning, similar to "rising the question", and another: "assuming the conclusion" which originated from a particularly bad translation of a latin phrase. You, on the other hand, confused the concept of sharing with its exact opposite, "exclusive use".

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 621

by ultranova (#48643091) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

No, that's what happens when you raise the minimum wage while keeping interest rates so low that the cost of capital makes automation much cheaper than humans.

No, that's what happens when you pay your employees so little they require public assistance to survive.

Rather than pay people to do stuff, you just borrow money to install machines that do it, instead.

Those people will require food stamps either way, which I'll end up paying for. The only difference is whether you get free labour or have to shell out for machines. So tell me: why should I subsidize your business?

You and your comrades in government are effectively paying corporations to get rid of human employees, just so you can whine about it afterwards.

And the alternative you're proposing is me effectively paying the payroll of those corporations. Even if I'd be willing to do so, which I'm not, it'll become impossible when my job is replaced by automation in turn.

Comrade me all you want, it won't change the fact that the system is breaking down. All defending status quo does is make the crisis deeper and the resulting changes more drastic.

Comment: Re:Wrong way of thinking. (Score 3, Insightful) 621

by ultranova (#48642663) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

A minimally regulated market which has perfect knowledge by all participants.

Apart from "minimually regulated" being vague, it's in principle impossible to have "perfect knowledge". So claiming yours would be an awesome economic system is a bit like claiming that theocracy would be an awesome political system because it would have an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity at the helm. More than a bit, actually, since such ideologically pure economic systems always end up with deityfying their guiding principles, whether they be the Historical Inevitability of Communism or the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace.

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 3, Insightful) 621

by ultranova (#48642509) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Once again we have a clueless story about automation destroying jobs which ignores that the claimed effect doesn't happen.

Do you have any evidence for this assertion? Because last I looked, most of the developed world continues to struggle with unemployment.

Most of the developing world just doesn't have this problem. It's just another imaginary first world problem.

It sucks that the second and third world have problems. That doesn't mean the problems of the first world don't exist, or aren't potentially lethal.

Instead the problem is the punishing of employers. When you mandate high minimum wages and plush benefits, regulations which drive up the cost of an employee while simultaneously making them hard to fire, and the creation of a variety of liabilities (eg, being exposed to large liabilities due to unsanctioned actions of your employees), you create an environment where it is better for employees to move the work to a better location and/or automate it.

Lowering or removing the minimum wage means that the poor will either starve or receive food stamps. Both jackbooted security forces and food assistance require money. And that, in turn, means the only difference between keeping - or preferably rising - the minimum wage or lowering it is that in the latter case my taxes ultimately go to subsidize McDonald's and Wal-Mart's profits and oppress people.

We will see not only jobs moved to other parts of the world, but the automation as well. Call it "race to the bottom", "exporting the pollution", whatever, but it remains that a growing amount of valuable economic activity has been chased out of the developed world and it's not coming back.

What valuable economic activity would that be? Surely you aren't referring to activities so unprofitable that paying minimum wage for them is a "punishment"?

Comment: Re:Copenhagen interpretation != less complicated (Score 1) 195

by epine (#48641759) Attached to: Quantum Physics Just Got Less Complicated

Determinism = fail

With entanglement, we have an FTL coupling that can't be used to convey classical information.

Why can't we have a similarly knackered stripe of determinism, one which can't be used to shatter the illusion of free will? This would be a kind of determinism where even if you sort of know it's there, it makes no damn difference to your interpretation of local space.

Think big, grasshopper, think big.

Comment: Re:News at 11.. (Score 2) 716

by ultranova (#48641333) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Copyright infringement is theft because it denies a copyright owner the ability to sell the product for which they have the copyright and thus they lose money. If I sell a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag that looks like a real one to Madame A, I am depriving Louis Vuitton the right to sell a real bag to Madame A.

And since setting up a competing brand does the exact same thing, it follows that competition is theft. Why do you hate freedom so much, comrade?

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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