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Comment: Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (Score 1) 172

by guises (#47429715) Attached to: Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted
The problem with "publish or perish" isn't the fact that scientists have to eventually share their results, it's the volume of publishing that's expected which gets in the way of actual work. When a scientist has a data set and the first thought is "How many papers can I get out of this?" it's an indication that something is wrong.

Comment: Re:better than what we have now (Score 3, Interesting) 246

Well, you could have phrased that a little better... I do think it's odd that a Superman costume would be so integral to this monument when the only suggestion that the kid cared about Superman at all was a single comment by his abusive father.

Random Stranger who's organizing this didn't know the kid at all... which is itself also rather odd. Monuments like this aren't for the dead, after all, they're for the living, those who still remember and care about the people who have passed, and Random Stranger never knew this kid. Random Stranger doesn't know the first thing about his personality. Why is it so important to Random Stranger whether or not the statue is dressed like Superman?

Comment: Re:Not a dime from me (Score 1) 117

by guises (#47387183) Attached to: Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line
Try looking at it this way: the 2012 election cost our economy just shy of $2 billion. If we do it through the voucher system, one of Mayday's proposed solutions, we can set that amount to whatever we like. Say $200 million, roughly the same as funded through FECA. That's a dramatic improvement in efficiency.

Now how you see that depends on your attitude towards money: the efficient method comes out of taxes (partially paid for by you), while the inefficient method is paid by third parties. In other words, the cost of the election in the inefficient case effects you indirectly rather than directly. As long as you are in any way connected to this economy though, you would feel it.

Comment: Re: If you take the bait (Score 2) 117

by guises (#47386445) Attached to: Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line
The grandparent was talking about some kind of fictional first-past-the-post campaign funding system that no one has proposed. You are saying that the voucher system will give a massive advantage to incumbents. Could you explain your position? Vouchers are given by voters to the candidates of their choosing - how does this give an advantage to incumbents?

Comment: Re:Not a dime from me (Score 1) 117

by guises (#47386419) Attached to: Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line
"Allegedly" is right. The level of rhetoric here is nuts: Mayday's stated goal is to change the way that campaigns are funded such that each person (voter) can contribute equally to the campaigns of their choice. This is in opposition to the current method, where each person can contribute an amount limited only be their means, giving drastically more influence (or speech, as the supreme court sees it) to those of significant means.

There is no group being oppressed here, though I'm starting to think that these common sense campaigns could do better by taking some sort of crazy position like that. It's all that people hear nowadays.

Comment: Re:It isn't irony (Score 1) 148

by guises (#47379357) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

So, apparently, it is ok if someone can pay for such airtime out of his own pocket, but not if twenty people pool their pockets to pay for it.

Is this one of those, "If you can't do everything perfectly then you shouldn't do anything at all?" It's true that McCain-Feingold only dealt with corporations. It's true that it was not the end-all of campaign finance reform. So what? The law still had a big impact, and a positive one if you're someone who cares about the corrupting influence of money. Soft-money spending (outside organizational spending) tripled between the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Your concern about "the rich guy" getting heard where the paupers contributing to Citizens United are ignored is misplaced - they're all rich guys. PACs are for rich people and no one else. Anyone with less than $5,000 to contribute just gives it directly to the candidate's campaign. Further, your implication that corporate political spending is just a bunch of like-minded people pooling their money is ridiculous. If I work for Comcast does that mean that I hate anti-trust law and net neutrality? When Comcast spends the tens of millions of dollars that it spends on politics, is it representing me or is it representing just the few people at the top who control how the company spends its money?

Yes, McCain-Feingold blocked spending by non-profits and unions as well as for-profit companies. Some few of those might have been groups with legitimate political interests as you describe. Doubtless those just told their members to make political contributions directly, thereby ensuring that their members still had their speech intact. And if the organization itself can't speak? Companies don't (shouldn't) have first amendment rights.

Ultimately the best argument against the Citizens United decision is to simply look at its consequences - the vast leap in political spending, with so much of it from completely unaccountable anonymous donors.

Comment: Re:the real question is... (Score 1) 228

by guises (#47364059) Attached to: Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven
Yeah... a charcoal grill is the hottest thing that a home cook is likely to have and they don't get above 375. You might think that he's talking about professional kitchens, though even they would have fairly limited applications for something that hot. In reality though, since it's Nathan Myhrvold, he's talking about patents and ensuring that no one will ever be able to make more innovative ovens without paying him.

Comment: Re:His choices... (Score 1) 194

by guises (#47358299) Attached to: The Internet's Own Boy

If you want to take away the ability for the government to pursue the maximum possible penalty, you should also recommend taking away their discretion to pursue the minimum possible penalty as well.

Absolutely. There's no reason why the prosecutor should have any say in sentencing, that's for the judge. And to take that a step further - not only should the prosecutor be unable to pursue the minimum possible penalty, there should be no minimum sentencing in the first place. This is just interference by another route, and worse because the judge can't overrule it even when it's clearly unjust (warning: PDF).

Comment: Re:It isn't irony (Score 1) 148

by guises (#47358165) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)
The point where you went wrong is when you threw in the word "effective." Freedom of speech doesn't mean that you have the freedom to do whatever it takes to persuade people to do what you want. The free speech rights of Citizen's United was never in question, the issue was that they wanted to violate campaign finance law by using money in order to make their speech louder and more effective than other peoples' speech.

Comment: Re:the most important one is missed out (Score 1) 273

That's nice and all, but beside the point. Uber isn't competing by paying their drivers more, Uber is competing by skirting regulation. You can say that taxi drivers should get a larger share of the earnings, and you'll get no argument from me, but this argument exists because Uber isn't on a level playing field with existing taxi companies. Whether it's the companies or the drivers who are profitable doesn't matter, someone has to be making money for a private business to operate.

That regulation exists to make sure that taxis, whether the drivers or the companies, are making enough money to keep operating. This is done because they are seen as a vital part of the operation of the city. If there was any danger of the grocery stores going away you can bet your ass there'd be some regulation in place to prop them up.

If Uber can come in and abide by existing taxi regulations and still pay their drivers more than existing taxi companies do then great. Everybody wins. That isn't what's currently happening.

Comment: Re:Good? (Score 1) 273

I can't see where you got that impression. Most taxi regulations are about pricing: prices are fixed, mostly so they can't gouge customers or rainy days or at other opportunities; or licensing: taxi licenses are limited to ensure that taxi drivers can still make a decent living despite lost revenue from the first point; or universal service: taxis are required to operate even in those parts of town that are less savory or less profitable.

If your objective is to set up taxis as an alternate means of public transportation, something to complement a subway system, for example, than all of these traits are not just desirable, but necessary.

For large values of one, one equals two, for small values of two.