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Comment: Re:More to the point (Score 5, Insightful) 187

The premise is wrong. Ads have very little informative value. They are mostly acting on human psychology. The more expensive ads are, the less informative they are. Pretenders are another issue. Lemons versus peaches. The solution to the problem can vary for different products.

Comment: Re:Life has a mortality rate of 100% (Score 1) 478

by karuna (#44755555) Attached to: Schneier: We Need To Relearn How To Accept Risk
It sounds right. It is estimated that about 100 billion people have ever been born. Today there are about 7 billion people alive on this earth. Of course, it depends on the assumed time point when our species started to resemble humans in the sense we understand it. Still it is quite an impressive number. The human history has been so rich and yet it was created by relatively small amount of individuals. We don't fully comprehend the potential of current human civilization.

Comment: NSA secrets are not secrets to other countries (Score 2) 743

by karuna (#44710427) Attached to: Snowden Spoofed Top Officials' Identity To Mine NSA Secrets
It seems that NSA has a very big security hole. If there are 1000 sysadmins at NSA who can access files without audit trail like Snowden can, how can you be sure that there isn't a Chinese spy among them? What Snowden did, was patriotic. Another person would have simply sold the secrets to Russians or Chinese and retired at Bahamas and NSA would be no wiser. I am almost certain that it has already happened. Why neither Chinese, nor Russians expressed interest in info that Snowden had? Because they already have it and much more than Snowden had decided to release to public.

Possibly that NSA is operating with presumptions that the info has already leaked. They don't really care. What Snowden did was unforgivable however, because he disclosed their illegal operations to the American public.

Comment: competition was the key (Score 2) 195

by karuna (#40730765) Attached to: If You Lived In Riga, You Wouldn't Bother To Cut the Cord
Latvia is a poor EU country but that's not the main reason why broadband prices are relatively low. It is all because of competition. Latvia had poor phone infrastructure and after the Soviet era the government decided to give a monopoly to Lattelecom and as a result the prices for local call were unreasonably high. Internet, however, remained unregulated. The opportunity was immediately seized by small entrepreneurs who bought one high speed link from the Telecom and connected local apartments in the complex with local ethernet cables. The service was shitty and the speed varied but the required investment was minimal, just a bunch of routers, some cables and connections with housing owners to receive permission to pull cables to apartments. The specifics of Riga was that there are very little of suburban housing and most people live in apartment complexes.

The low cost of entrance created quite a competition and kept prices low. Gradually many such micro-ISPs were merged or bought by bigger companies and quality gradually improved. The possibility of competition never disappeared and eventually it forced all major ISPs lower prices.

Comment: Re:Kinda right, but not... (Score 1) 624

by karuna (#39116225) Attached to: Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers
Replied to the wrong post, so I will repeat it here.

The reason why airlines sometimes are so anal about scrutinizing passport or visa status of international passengers is that they have to pay enormous fines if a passenger in question is refused entry into a destination country due not having a proper passport or visa. It is an airline's job to check if a passenger has these in order and if the airline fails to do this then they will be fined at least $15000 and probably even more. The airline licence to fly to international destinations usually comes with such conditions.

Visa rules are complex and constantly changing so they may refuse boarding in complicated cases where a passenger appears to be violating some rules. In most cases it is indeed the fault of a passenger. For example, when visiting the US under visa waiver program one has to have a return ticking within allocated time. Also a visa waiver cannot be used when flying to the US in transit and then taking ground transportation to ultimate destination in Canada. Many passengers forget about this and then they blame the airline when they are not allowed to board the plane.

But in some cases it is clearly the fault of airlines who is not aware of some rare exception or recent changes in immigration rules. Nobody's perfect. In such case I would recommend a passenger to study the entrance rules and be ready to explain them to airline's representative and refer to authoritative sources. I have heard cases when people have successfully received reimbursement from the airline for their inconveniences including additional hotel bills etc. because they were unjustly refused boarding.

Comment: Re:Kinda right, but not... (Score 1) 624

by karuna (#39116193) Attached to: Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers
The reason why airlines sometimes are so anal about scrutinizing passport or visa status of international passengers is that they have to pay enormous fines if a passenger in question is refused entry into a destination country due not having a proper passport or visa. It is an airline's job to check if a passenger has these in order and if the airline fails to do this then they will be fined at least $15000 and probably even more. The airline licence to fly to international destinations usually comes with such conditions. Visa rules are complex and constantly changing so they may refuse boarding in complicated cases where a passenger appears to be violating some rules. In most cases it is indeed the fault of a passenger. For example, when visiting the US under visa waiver program one has to have a return ticking within allocated time. Also a visa waiver cannot be used when flying to the US in transit and then taking ground transportation to ultimate destination in Canada. Many passengers forget about this and then they blame the airline when they are not allowed to board the plane. But in some cases it is clearly the fault of airlines who is not aware of some rare exception or recent changes in immigration rules. Nobody's perfect. In such case I would recommend a passenger to study the entrance rules and be ready to explain them to airline's representative and refer to authoritative sources. I have heard cases when people have successfully received reimbursement from the airline for their inconveniences including additional hotel bills etc. because they were unjustly refused boarding.

Comment: Re:1% are failing us again (Score 1) 57

by karuna (#38866663) Attached to: SEC Takes Action Against Latvian Hacker
Like I said, you can't at the same time ask for "growth" in your own nation without expecting someone else somewhere to lose out.

Why not? Progress of science and technology can help us to produce more, to live better and have more wealth. In fact, improvement of technology goes very well together with greater social equality. A slave is not as effective worker as a well paid technician.

Global trade is good in theory. In practice it doesn't work too well in many cases because of asymmetric power. Rich countries can afford to influence trade in their favor and there are no world government that would not allow this.

Comment: Re:1% are failing us again (Score 1) 57

by karuna (#38866383) Attached to: SEC Takes Action Against Latvian Hacker
I suggest you to learn about the world economy and what it means to have a growth. Economy is not a zero sum game except when it is.
It's the same when you look to different countries too, the cost of living makes a difference.

Absolutely not. If you want to compare taking into account the cost of living then use purchase parity by all means. On a national level you may be right but to say that some malnourished Somalians have approximately the same quality life as Londoners is nonsense.

The line diving 1% is arbitrary. It is not about some mystical qualities that divide them from us but that the fragile balance of democracy, power and wealth generation is broken and needs to be reestablished. It is not against people having more money but objection towards the system where wealthy have most of political power and use it unwisely, not for the benefit of the nation, what to speak about world's population.

Comment: Re:1% are failing us again (Score 1) 57

by karuna (#38865209) Attached to: SEC Takes Action Against Latvian Hacker

Nope, "life always worked" is not how economy has ever worked since humans climbed from the trees and started to organize societies. It is all conscious intellectual construct. Some systems are better than others (capitalism vs. communism) but every one is created and continuously tinkered by careful deliberation.

I have no problem having some income inequality as long as it creates the most efficient system for growth. It is not happening at the moment. 20% unemployment in some parts of Europe is obscene. Unemployment among young people is almost 50% in certain areas. Something needs to be done and the richest people has the greatest power and possibility to rectify the situation. But as they are relatively wealthy they don't feel the pressure. They don't feel the pain of young people whose dreams are crushed by inability to find meaningless employment. It is the responsibility of us, 99% to exert pressure on them to do something.

Comment: Re:1% are failing us again (Score 1) 57

by karuna (#38864993) Attached to: SEC Takes Action Against Latvian Hacker

Just do whatever that leads to economic recovery and growth and more income equality.

But don't mix up morality with legality, please. When bankers engaged in reckless risk taking and bankrupted us all in the process, it is hard to find a law against them but morally they were thieves in the direct meaning of the word.

Comment: Re:1% are failing us again (Score 1) 57

by karuna (#38864731) Attached to: SEC Takes Action Against Latvian Hacker

Europe is now in a deflationary spiral due to clueless economists and politicians. Basically is because currently the richest people for various reasons choose to invest their money not where it gives the highest economic benefit and growth to the nation/country/world/etc., but where they can retain their relative superior position over others.

And don't think that the US can somehow avoid being affected by this. The globalization, you know.

Comment: Re:1% are failing us again (Score 0) 57

by karuna (#38864463) Attached to: SEC Takes Action Against Latvian Hacker

I wasn't even in 1% of the world. In fact, Latvia is somewhere in the middle on the world income scale. Not destitute but also not too good. But Latvia's income position has steadily declined during the last 20 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and brave acceptance of capitalism. The Soviet system was terrible but US dictated capitalism has not made as richer. In essence, it has merely increased income inequality or in other words, redistribution of wealth also know as stealing.

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