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Comment: QWest "Fiber Optic" (Score 1) 256

by grenthar (#30548988) Attached to: Really Misleading Ads From Broadband Providers
Sure that stuff is pretty sleazy, but it doesn't really compare to the stuff QWest has been spamming all over my city. They are advertising their new "fiber optic" service. One would assume based on the ads that they will actually provide you with fiber service. A little investigation (not on their website of course) reveals the truth. It's just regular DSL, they ran some more fiber lines to their exchanges. Qwest may as well just call all their internet services "fiber optic" since your traffic is probably flowing through a fiber network somewhere along the way....

Comment: Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (Score 5, Insightful) 221

by grenthar (#27335421) Attached to: RIAA Backs Down In Texas Case

My favorite line was the part where you are forbidden to:
* undertake or accomplish any unlawful purpose. This includes, but is not limited to, posting, storing, transmitting or disseminating information, data or material which ... in any way constitutes or encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, or otherwise violate any local, state, federal, or non-U.S. law, order, or regulation....

Good to know that in order to be eligible for Comcast service, you you must submit to the laws of China, North Korea, Iran, and the orders of every other petty dictator on the planet....

Comment: Re:It begins with the end of cheap petroleum. (Score 1) 409

by grenthar (#27307877) Attached to: I expect the last human on Earth to be born ...

The current human population level is entirely dependent on industrial scale agriculture. Our current agricultural practices are dependent on fertilizers. Nitrate fertilizers require a source of energy and a source of hydrogen, and petroleum serves as the cheap source of both of these things. There is a fixed amount of petroleum on Earth, which we are consuming at an astounding pace. Eventually (I'm not going to guess exactly when, but certainly at some point) the price of petroleum is going to skyrocket as the available supply dwindles. (I just don't see the demand ever falling off significantly, the stuff is just too useful.)

Now I'm not sure what the eventual equilibrium is going to work out as, but whatever energy source we eventually settle on will probably be more expensive than petroleum. The price of nitrate fertilizers will have to go up commensurately. If that happens, then the volume of food produced will go down. Given that food is something that is really truly needed for survival, if the production capacity drops below the required volume to sustain the population the price will necessarily rise to a point where anyone below a certain income level cannot afford to eat. (If enough food is produced for a billion people, then the billionth most productive person will be spending their entire economic output to eat, and the billion-and-first person starves.) Then there is widespread famine and political unrest, the results of which are hard to predict. There will probably be wars.

The issue at hand is the end of the human race, so I gave what I consider to be the most likely scenario for the downfall of advanced civilization, which is clearly a prerequisite for the extinction of the species. It certainly isn't guaranteed to play out this way, and I hope it doesn't, but it is what I consider to be the most feasible trigger for some sort of apocalyptic war.

Comment: It begins with the end of cheap petroleum. (Score 1) 409

by grenthar (#27299001) Attached to: I expect the last human on Earth to be born ...
I envision a massive dieoff when the price of petroleum rises to the point that makes fertilizers prohibitively expensive. Advanced civilization may survive for a couple hundred years after that. Then we face a protracted slow march into oblivion as a degrading ecological situation makes life more and more difficult.

Comment: Re:Copyright definitely kills innovation (Score 4, Informative) 597

by grenthar (#27144425) Attached to: Copyright and Patent Laws Hurt the Economy
You obviously have _ZERO_ idea how academic publishing works. Scientists usually have to pay hefty fees to submit their work to a journal. After that the papers are peer reviewed by other scientists. You might think the scientists who do the reviewing get paid. In fact they do not, it is typical to do this for free. Scientists want their work to be out there and be used by other people, who will then cite their work. When their work gets cited they gain standing and can get better jobs. Making it impossible for other people to get their hands on their research is definitely not in the author's interest. Furthermore, a good deal of research is paid for by tax or phianthropically funded grants. Yet another reason the results ought to be freely available.

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