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Comment Consumer ignorance (Score 1) 470

It's beyond me in this day and age of ubiquitous information available at one's fingertips that anyone can walk into a dealership and NOT know what they want to buy (or at least have it narrowed down to one or two models and/or trim levels). You should do all your research BEFORE going to the dealership. The only point of going to the dealership should be to actually drive the car and confirm or refute what you already know about it.

Dealerships HATE informed customers because it basically removes the need for a salesperson. I don't WANT some smelly guy in a bad suit trying to tell me what I want. I already KNOW what I want. The only reason I'm even there is because I can't order one from the factory directly. I have my financing worked out with my credit union before I set foot in his doorway. The salesperson's total interaction with me ought to be "Here is a filled-out build sheet for the car I want along with all options I would like. Here is the price I'm willing to pay which ensures a modest profit for you and your dealership. I will not negotiate one penny above and beyond that, nor do I want to be sold on additional options or extras I have not already specified. Please locate the car in your database. If you have one on the lot that matches it, I'll take it today. If not, please have it delivered here and let me know when it arrives. Thank you. Goodbye."

Why in the hell can't we just ORDER these things from the factory??? Oh, dealerships have local politicians blocking that sort of thing. Land of the free, home of the brave-but-not-so-brave-that-we-want-actual-competition.

Comment Re:anti-business liberal scoring points (Score 1) 345

If they are publicly traded and their principal business is not risk, then they are required to be by law.


I'm fairly certain there is no such law. What publicly-traded businesses are required to do is to do what they say they'll do in their articles of incorporation and their prospectus. For most, these documents state that their focus is to generate a responsible return on investment (language varies, but that's what it boils down to). However, it is perfectly acceptable for them to include other goals, and even to prioritize those goals over making money.

Were SpaceX to go public, they could specify that their primary goal is to get to Mars, for example, rather than to make money. That would probably lower their valuation, but there would be nothing at all illegal about it.

Comment Re:yet more engineer bashing (Score 1) 491

The real question is not are engineers 9 times more likely to be terrorists. The real question is are they 9 times more likely to hold extremist beliefs, or just 9 times more likely to act on them because to engineers the point is to solve problems.

I suspect it's some of both. It seems to me that engineers do tend to be more passionate about their interests (whatever those may be) than the average person. And they think in terms of how to solve problems.

Comment Re:Works for me (Score 1) 137

And in the meantime it is sending bog-knows-what to who-knows-what. I think I'll pass....

I didn't pass, I checked. I had my router log the packets from my TV for a couple of weeks, then fired up Wireshark to look at who it was talking to and what it was sending. Result? On a daily basis it sends a tiny request to the manufacturer, which I suspect is checking for firmware updates. Other than that, it appears to connect to Netflix when I watch Netflix, my DLNA server when I watch stuff from it, YouTube when I watch that, etc. That's it.

It also occurs to me... if you're worried about a information being sent who knows where, why are you not worried about your Roku, etc.? How do you know what it's sending? Why is a Smart TV riskier than any of the other network-connected media-playing devices you might hook to it?

Comment Re:What purpose does registration serve? (Score 1) 192

Hunting and fishing licenses are also to ensure the proper level/age/gender of animals, or at least close to it, is hunted, for conservation, etc. purposes

No, no they are not. Licenses don't do that. The only thing licenses do is make sure that someone has spent money. Only enforcement does that. Enforcement already happens; they have wardens out all year making sure that people aren't poaching. I live in major hunting country, so there's lots of them here.

For most big game, there's also a tag attached to the license, which much be attached to the game animal when taken. Tags do serve (with enforcement) to ensure that the right number, age and gender of animals are taken. Other game species have daily limits, but those could be enforced without any sort of specific licensing. Of course, the license fees generally pay for the enforcement, so licenses do help manage hunting for conservation. License fees generally pay for lots of other conservation measures as well.

Comment Re:This is only true (Score 2) 364

When what's legal and what's sustainable for the society are not aligned, there are likely one of two results: 1) Law is changed to be more sustainable or 2) the society suffers.

But hey, more power to those who can screw over everyone else for their tax free money!

If what the company is doing is not sustainable, the company will fail, as it should. If what society is doing is unsustainable, it will fail, as it should. It's called capitalism and if you leave it alone, you'd be surprised at how good it works.

What would you propose? We block companies from doing these kinds of inversions? They'd just transfer their entire operation overseas and then the US would see zero percent of that income. There are any number of other countries that would LOVE to have them, as is evidenced by their lower tax rates and success in luring said companies.

The stupidity is the assumption you can somehow control these companies, or punish them for their actions. Controlling them is impossible so long as there are other places to do business. Punishing them does nothing but punish those who consume their products or services. Putting them out of business adds to unemployment. Banning their products or services from the US market would damage consumers *and* employees. You know...employees...those people who work hard every day to take home a paycheck to their families. Not everyone at a corporation is Scrooge McDuck burning hundred dollar bills to warm their gold-plated mansion.

No, the answer is to lower our corporate tax burdens and win this business back to US shores and the US tax system. It doesn't take a genius to realize that 15% of something is better than 26% of nothing.

Comment Re:Except they used regular SMS (Score 1) 291

No, you don't do engineering. You do software design, because you are not liable for the integrity of what you make.

People just started calling it engineering to feel special, but it's pretty distinct, and dishonest of you to call yourself such.

So, liability defines engineering, it has nothing to do with applying science to build things. Okay, whatever you say.

Comment Stackoverflow didn't invent buckethead programming (Score 1) 168

The process of copying and pasting an incompletely or not at all understood solution isn't in any way new. Back in the early 90s one of my colleagues coined the term I've used ever since for this and related programming anti-methods: buckethead programming. The metaphor is of programming with a bucket over your head so you can't see what you're doing but instead just stagger in random directions until you accidentally bump into something that appears to work... at which point you leave it and stagger your way through the next obstacle that arises.

I suppose you can argue that stackoverflow has made buckethead programming easier or more accessible, but people were grabbing random snippets of code from existing codebases, or from magazine articles, or blog articles, etc., long before it existed. If it weren't for stackoverflow concentrating such knowledge in one place, we'd be lamenting Google's role in enabling crappy programmers to find solutions they don't understand.

Comment Re:The Answer: (Score 1) 173

We could just hitch a ride on a comet that is flying close by both planets to avoid fuel costs and size of spacecraft limitations :)

At what relative velocity would you like your spacecraft to land on the comet? I know that you are joking, but I've heard this idea proposed seriously more than once. This comment is for those people.

See... we just need a big net and a very large bungee cord...

Comment Re:Next step is the book. (Score 1) 311

What difference does book format make? Books full of child pornography are already illegal, for example. What makes you think 3D printed weapons would be any different, or generate a different reaction when banned?

It highlights the freedom of speech and press questions. It worked reasonably well with encryption a couple of decades ago. Of course, the encryption debate has come roaring back recently, but that doesn't mean the book idea didn't work, or that it can't work again.

The child pornography argument is something of a red herring sitting as it does right at the intersection of the most deep-seated, cross-ideology hot buttons there are.

The hardest part of climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.