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Comment: Re:Pft (Score 1) 400

by msobkow (#47512559) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

And have you listened to what those types of gamers say to everyone they play against? We're talking about mouthy juvenile delinquents of varying ages who've never evolved beyond that of the 12 year old. They're assholes to everyone and they threaten everyone with disembowlment, murder, and other such crap. The only "special" insult they make to women is rape, because they know that will piss them off. And that's all that sort cares about: pissing the opponent off.

Maybe the game industry is worse than others -- I don't know; I've never worked in that sector. But I have never seen women in banking, telecommunications, government, financial services, or the aeronautics industries be subjected to any more or any less jibing and insulting than "the guys" on the team were. Maybe there is just something about gaming that attracts demented juvenile delinquents, but everyone at work received about the same level of respect from their co-workers everwhere I worked over a 30 year period in the tech industry.

Then again, I've been out of the industry for almost five years now. Maybe society has taken this mad rush to the bottom in the intervening five years. If so, that's sad, because tech used to be one of the few industries where women and men were judged more on their skillz than anything else.

Comment: Re:The problem is addiction, not the use of drugs (Score 3, Insightful) 471

by msobkow (#47489139) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

Even addiction is not a problem. Back in the day when opium was legal, many people were addicted to it. But they had ready access to a cheap supply of their drug of choice, so they were able to function in society, hold down a job, etc.

Caffeine is another good example. Lots of people are addicted to caffeine, but function in society.

Even tobacco (evil though it is) has functional addicts.

The point is that it's not addiction itself that is a problem, but the stigmatization of addicts by society and the crimes they're forced to commit to feed black market pricing. Put an opiate addict on a methadone program, and they stop breaking into houses to feed their habit.

Addiction is not a *good* thing, but it should be a personal choice and health issue, not an excuse for ostracizing someone from society.

Comment: Paper tracked barter (Score 5, Insightful) 100

by msobkow (#47488771) Attached to: New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

This sounds like paper-tracked barter, with a delayed payment on half of the deal. Which is kind of the key problem that money was intended to solve -- money can be traded for *anything*, not just what the issuer has that is of value. This ends up being a throwback to the days of "store scrip", only even more limited.

An interesting experiment, but ultimately futile and pointless.

Comment: Re:it is the wrong way... (Score 1) 288

by ScentCone (#47481761) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

A carbon tax does not affect every business equally.

But it will generally affect competitors equally. Two different taxi companies, or two different electricity generating companies that use coal. Or two different hotels of the same class and size in the same city.

And since competing businesses tend to have to lower prices in order to remain competitive in the same market as they pursue the same prospective customer, the tax burden is going to raise costs (and lower margins) more or less the same for both (or several) parties.

Comment: Re:it is the wrong way... (Score 3, Interesting) 288

by ScentCone (#47479901) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

The entire idea is that businesses will strive to become more efficient such that they produce less pollution so that they'll be taxed less.

But because such penalties impact all businesses in whatever country is collecting them, it won't really change things - because all of those businesses will simply pass along the new government-mandated increase in their overhead along in the form of higher prices. To the businesses in question, it just goes in one door and out the other. You want to use the heavy hand of the tax collector to damage people's behavior in a way that makes them go out less, drive less, spend less, do less? Tax citizens directly, with a very special line item they can't miss, that says "carbon tax, because you exist" - and they'll act. Well, mostly they'll act to elect people who will undo that tax, but they'll act.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 261

by demachina (#47478059) Attached to: UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

I should point out native americans are still largely unemployed, stuck in reservations on land white American's didn't want. One of their few rays of hope being the ubiquitous Indian Casino where they are exacting their revenge. Still they are second class citizens.

Blacks were still being massively discriminated against until the Civil Rights act which was around 180 years later. They are still second class citizens.

The poor, they are still second class citizens.

Women are the one group doing pretty well for themselves though they are still underrepresnted in government.

Look around the room at a State of the Union address. The room is still overwhelming full of affluent white men.

As for the founding fathers brilliant ideas on governence, it exploded in a bloody civil war in 80 years.

You need look no further than where the U.S. congress, courts and presidency are today. They are a smoldering ruin. They have never been the great institutions Americans are brainwashed in to thinking they are. Are they better than totalitarian dictatorships, sure. Are they models the rest of the world can aspire too, no, not really.

American governement is the best government money can buy.

Comment: Re:No (Score 3, Interesting) 261

by demachina (#47477977) Attached to: UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

Try reading Zinn's A People's History of the United States. It will disillusion you of the comic book U.S. History taught in U.S. school where the founding fathers are all saints and geniuses.

They were mostly self serving and profiteering. Its fitting Andrew Jackson is on the $20 dollar bill because he was infamous for profiteering off the battles he won, mostly by seizing the lands he took and splitting it up between himself and his friends.

Comment: Re:No (Score 3, Interesting) 261

by demachina (#47475983) Attached to: UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

The founding fathers weren't exactly the pillars of individual freedom you seem to think they were. They were an American centric elite and plutocracy trying to displace a Britsh centric elite and plutocracy, mostly so they could have a bigger cut of America's growing wealth.

You can tell because most of those constitutional protections and the Bill of Rights didn't apply to people who weren't affluent(i.e. who didn't own land), women, native American's, blacks/slaves and indentured whites. They applied mostly to white men who had wealth (at least enough to own land).

They actively prevented people who were not white, male and affluent from voting or holding office. They were mostly slave owners themselves, and they were for the most part very affluent and owners of very large real estate holdings. They were all 1%'ers.

The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were carefully designed to inspire support from enough people in the colonies for their Revolution to succeed, and to create the illusion of freedom, but they had no intention of relinquishing their power and control over the levers of government when it their Revolution did succeed. That plutocracy has never relinquished that control in the more than 200 years since.

The NSA along with the DHS, FBI, ATF and IRS are means for maintaining that control.

The Internet let a genie out of a bottle and created dangerous potentential for the rest of us to organize and try to win some of that power and control back.

When faced with the twin crises, and excuses, that were 9/11 and the 2008 crash it was nearly inevitable that The Powers That Be in the U.S. and U.K. would exploit every tool at their disposal, mainly computers and networks, to try to put a lid back on their control of their increasingly restless and networked homelands and to try to maintain their domination of the world as a whole in the face of increasing challenges.

The 2008 crash in particular resulted in widespread global disillusionment with the fact economies and governments are rigged to benefit the ruling elite and screw everyone else. When ruling elites start feeling that heat they trot out their police states, always have, always will.

Comment: Re:Railroads killed by the government... (Score 1) 194

by squiggleslash (#47474927) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

No, I didn't contradict myself otherwise you'd have quoted me contradicting myself, instead of acknowledging it using different phrasing, "loss leader".


What makes food service profitable is that passengers ride the train that otherwise wouldn't. Tell Amtrak to discontinue food service, and it would destroy ridership on their already poorly performing long distance services. The subsidy needed to continue operating them would skyrocket, and would be immensely high per-passenger.

If something results in more revenue without a corresponding or larger rise in costs, it's never legitimate to describe it as "loss making." Never. So yes, it's entirely valid for me to call the claim "dubious at best".

Comment: Re:And? (Score 2) 194

by squiggleslash (#47473545) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

Nah. There's a lot of crap spoken about the NYC Jet train thing. One presumption, which has more to do with smarty-pants hindsight, is that it was a prototype for a serious train, that NYC actually planned to run high speed trains like that. But that's not the case.

NYC added jets to some unused rolling stock because it was a _quick_ _cheap_ way to get a train to go fast. They wanted a train to go fast because they were studying how high speed trains would interact with the track. Would it be possible to run them without huge infrastructure upgrade costs?

And lest you think "But track's track right? Surely all they have to do is make it strong enough", there are known problems with running trains at high speed on conventional track without significant engineering. The major one is something called "Hunting", which is an oscillation of the wheel sets between one extreme and the other that generates a kind of feedback loop. With slower trains, it's not a problem, there's not enough energy involved, but as the train reaches higher speeds, the wheelsets oscillate left and right with greater, and greater, violence. Anything over 100mph generally is thought to require a certain amount of attention.

"OK", you say, "But why jets? Why not just regear a normal locomotive and have it carry a couple of cars so it can get to that speed?" The answer to that is that a normal locomotive is heavy. Virtually every vision of high speed rail from sane people (that is, people who don't work for the Federal Railroad Administration) involves trains that are as light weight as practically possible, because heavy = more energy needed to start the train, heavy = more problems stopping the train in an emergency, and heavy = greater damage to tracks. Sticking a Jet, designed for an aircraft, a device known for needing designs where every pound of weight is justified, on a railroad carriage doesn't sound so insane now does it?

Had NYC continued to exist rather than being merged into PR in the horrific Penn Central project, and decided to make a serious go of this, you would have expected the research to lead to a conventional EMU style train, or maybe something like the APT with light weight cars and as light weight as possible electric motive units. No trains with jets. It's an interesting question what the railroad map of the US would have looked like had governments not imposed impractical restrictions on urban redevelopment, had they not overregulated the railroads, and had the Penn Central never happened.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.