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Comment: Re:"Harbinger of Failure" = Hipsters? (Score 1) 259 259

Actually the exact opposite is true.

Which is necessarily true in any kind of fashion, even if it's anti-fashion. Hipsterism is a kind of contrarianism; the attraction is having things that most other people don't even know about. But strict contrarianism is morally indistinguishable from strict conformism.

Now outside of major metropolitan centers like Manhattan when people say "hipster" they mean something else; there's not enough of a critical mass of non-conformity to cater to an actual "hipster" class. What they're really talking about is "kids taking part in trends I'm not included in." In other words its the same-old, same-old grousing about kids these days, only now by people who've spent their lives as the focus of youth culture and can't deal with their new-found cultural marginalization.

As you get older the gracious thing to do is to age out of concern, one way or the other, with fashion.

Comment: Re:"Harbinger of Failure" = Hipsters? (Score 2) 259 259

I thought hipsters all owned iPhone and Macbooks, and shopped at The Gap. I.e. they are all about conformity, fads and Buzzfeed.

No, those things are actually anti-hip. As soon as something gets big enough for Buzzfeed it's for a different audience.

"Hip" implies arcane knowledge possessed by a select few. A great band with a small local following is "hip"; when they make it big they're no longer "hip", although they may still be "cool". The iPhone is pretty much the antithesis of hip, no matter how cool it may be. If I were to guess what hipster phone model might look like, it might be something low-cost Indian android phone manufactured for the local market and not intended for export -- very rare and hard to get outside of India. Or even better, hard to get outside of Gujarat. Or even better only a few hundred were ever manufactured then the company went bankrupt and the stock was sold on the street in Ahmedabad. Provided that the phone is cool. Cool plus obscure is the formula for "hip".

It follows there is no such thing as "hip" retail chain. It's a contradiction in terms. A chain may position itself in its marketing as "hip", but it's really after what the tech adoption cycle refers to as "Early Majority" adopters.

Hipsters reject being the leading edge of anything; as soon as something becomes big, it is no longer hip. This means they're not economically valuable on a large scale, which some people see as self-centered and anti-social. Compare this to cosplayers; the media always adopts a kind of well-the-circus-is-in-town attitude when there's a con, but while they're condescending toward cosplayers the media can't afford to be hostile because those people are the important early adopters for economically valuable media franchises.

Let me give you a more authentic hipster trend than the one you named. Last year there was a fad for hipster men to buy black fedora hats from Brooklyn shops that cater to Hasidic men. While as soon as something gets big enough to draw media attention it's dead to hipsters, this fad illustrates the elements of hipster aesthetic: (1) resurrecting obscure and obsolete fashions; (2) exoticism or syncretism; and (3) authenticity.

Now from an objective standpoint there's no good reason to favor or disfavor fedoras as opposed to, say baseball caps. It's just a different fashion. Likewise there's no practical reason to value a hat from a owner-operated store in Brooklyn over an identical one purchased from Amazon. But it does add rarity value, and that's the key. Something has to be rare and unusual to be hip. As soon as hipness is productized it appeals to a different audience.

Comment: Re:"Harbinger of Failure" = Hipsters? (Score 3, Insightful) 259 259

Is this just another term for hipsters? People who seek out things that everyone else has dismissed for (usually) good reasons.

No. Because the "good reason" usually is "most people aren't doing that anymore." The article is about things that *never* become cool, not things that were cool in grandpa's day.

The real problem with being a hipster is that the ideal of non-conformity is inconsistent with the idea of fashion.

Comment: Re:Drop the hammer on them. (Score 5, Insightful) 1174 1174

"Drop the hammer on them."

That's the easy part. The hard part is dealing with what happens after the hammer has been dropped.

Someone once said that the definition of a bad policy is one that leads to a place where you have nothing but bad options. I believe everyone (not just the Greeks) thought back in 2000 it woudl be good policy to bring Greece into the Eurozone. But now we've now reached the point where otherwise rational people are talking about "dropping the hammer", as if having an incipient failed state in Europe is a small price to pay for 600 euro in your pocket. The frustration is understandable, but the the satisfaction of dropping the hammer on Greece would be short-lived -- possibly on the order of weeks depending on the scale of financial disruption.

The unhappy truth is that bad policy choices fifteen years ago means all the options available today lead to long-lived, complicated, and expensive consequences.

Comment: Re:What baffles me is.... (Score 2) 97 97

If this scum has a history of making false claims then why are they still allowed to make claims at all? Better yet, why haven't they been banned from Youtube altogether?

Alice posts a video using music that Bob owns the copyright to. Carol posts a video that uses music Bob falsely claims to also hold the copyright for. Unfortunately Bob's false claim against Carol doesn't change the fact that he actually does have a legitimate legal claim against Alice's video. So kicking him off the system means he's going to issue a takedown against Alice. The whole point of bringing him into the system was to give him an incentive to leave Alice alone.

The problem here isn't Bob and Alice -- that part of the scenario is working fine. The problem is Bob and Carol. There's no incentive for Bob not to make false claims against Carol. That's the bit that has to be fixed.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 4, Insightful) 265 265

Well, it may interest you to know that courts judging "emotional distress" is not some new Internet fad. In the year 1348 an innkeeper brought suit against a man who had been banging on his tavern door demanding wine. When the innkeeper stuck his head out the doorway to tell the man to stop, the man buried the hatchet he was carrying into the door by the innkeeper's head. The defendant argued that since there was no physical harm inflicted no assault had taken place, but the judged ruled against him [ de S et Ux. v. W de S (1348)]. Ever since then non-physical, non-financial harm has been considered both an essential element of a number of of crimes, a potential aggravating factor in others, and an element weighed in establishing civil damages.

This does *not*, however, mean that hurt feelings in themselves constitute a crime. It's a difficult and sometimes ambiguous area of the law, but the law doesn't have the luxury of addressing easy and clear-cut cases only.

As to why a new law is need now, when the infliction of emotional distress has been something the law has been working on for 667 years, I'd say that the power of technology to uncouple interactions from space and time has to be addressed. Hundreds of years ago if someone was obnoxious to you at your favorite coffeehouse, you could go at a different time or choose a different coffeehouse. Now someone intent on spoiling your interactions with other people doesn't have to coordinate physical location and schedule with you to be a persistent, practically inescapable nuisance.

Does this mean every interaction that hurts your feelings on the Internet is a crime? No, no more than everything that happens in your physical presence you take offense at is a crime.

Comment: Re:Environmentalists will cause the next nuclear a (Score 4, Interesting) 127 127

Every time nuclear power comes up someone blames environmentalists for the industry's problems -- in this case before the problems have manifested. It's an article of faith.

So far as I can see there's only ever been one plant in the US that's ever been cancelled for environmental concerns is the proposed plant at Bodega Harbor, which as you can see on the map would have been right on top of the San Andreas fault. In every other case projects have been shut down after serious miscalculations in the industry's economic forecasting (e.g. lower energy prices in the 80s than anticipated in the 70s), often exacerbated by poor project management performance. In those cases environmentalists were just a convenient scapegoat for management screw-ups.

You can see that because after the very largest anti-nuclear protests in history -- against Seabrook in NH and Diablo Canyon -- the plants were built and put into operation anyway. If a company had a plant under construction that it could make money operating, that plant would get built, even if thirty thousand people turned out to protest.

Comment: Re:Iran is not trying to save money (Score 1) 397 397

Well, you have to factor in the Iranian cultural mania for disagreeing with each other. The Shah couldn't keep them under his thumb, neither can the mullahs, who have their hands full disagreeing with each other.

From a tyrant's perspective Iran is ungovernable, which doesn't mean elements in the government don't give tyranny a go on a regular basis. It's an ideal setup for producing martyrs. The futility of cracking down means you have a little space to rake some muck before official anger overcomes reason.

Comment: Re:Big giant scam ... (Score 1) 833 833

I distinctly remember it being promised that the F-35 would beat anything but an F-22 in air-to-air combat, at a fraction of the price. It was not part of the original concept for the system but it was definitely sold politically as being capable of acting as a poor man's F22.

I wonder about the helmet mounted display, whether that's something you'd consider absolutely necessary in an aircraft whose job is to hit surface targets in contested airspace.

Comment: Re:Big giant scam ... (Score 1) 833 833

As a supposed air-superiority platform, this is an utter failure.

To be fair, that was not the original justification for the thing. That was mission creep.

I think the original impetus was to have something stealthy that could do ground strikes in enemy territory. And it makes sense to do a naval version of the same thing. If they'd just focused on that they'd have been done a long time ago with a solid design, which of course in engineering nearly always turns out to be more versatile than you planned for. Adding STOVL and the whizbang helmet (cool as that may be) as necessary elements of the system turned this into an "everything for everyone" project, which almost always turns out less versatile than you hoped.

Comment: Re:Dogfights?! What year is it?! (Score 1) 833 833

Sure you can identify scenarios where the A-10 is useless. But in the last twenty years it's been extremely useful in a number scenarios we've actually faced.

The idea that a system ought to play every role in every conceivable situation is why the F35 performs none of them very well. In hindsight the idea of accommodating the Marines' need for a STOVL aircraft in the same basic design probably dictated too many compromises in the plane's other roles.

Comment: Re:Ascent, not ascension (Score 1) 316 316

You are confusing "ascension" with "right ascension". Just plain "ascension" (not capitalized) is pretty much a synonym for "ascent".

A few dictionaries define "ascension" as an astronomical term referring to the rising of the star above the horizon -- in other words the increasing of altitude in the alt/azimuth coordinate system -- but this definition doesn't appear in lists of astronomical terms so either this usage is uncommon or obsolete.

Comment: Re:Do not react AT ALL (Score 2) 371 371

First of all, Sir Tim is British, and second of all the First Amendment refers to government regulation of speech. It does not compel a private organization to employ or associate with an individual whose speech it feels reflects poorly on them.

This is not a legal issue, it's a moral issue. It's morally wrong to empower a social media lynch mob without performing a reasonable inquiry into the facts.

"Just think, with VLSI we can have 100 ENIACS on a chip!" -- Alan Perlis

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