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Comment: Re:What an opportunity! (Score 2) 346 346

Bitcoin is not actually deflationary. Its supply grows constantly until it eventually stabilises. The fact that Bitcoin prices have fallen a lot is more because lots of new people have discovered the project and decided they want some, but that effect will eventually peter out as Bitcoin becomes boring and everyone finalises their opinions of it.

Greece doesn't need fiat currency. What Greece needs is hard money – like the Euro (which is hard-ish, though not as hard as Bitcoin). This is because the Greek government is notoriously corrupt and the fact that they couldn't just print the pensions of their civil servants was one of the few things creating pressure to reform, and preventing outright pillaging of the savings of Greeks who do actually work in the private sector. Seeing Greece as one monolithic entity isn't right: there are different factions, not all of whom want the government to suddenly be able to spend whatever it wants. Hence the Greek people apparently voting for both keeping the Euro and not enacting any spending cutbacks, a contradictory position.

Ultimately Greece is going to get a lot poorer, no matter what. In many ways it's practically a third world country, one that was simply kept afloat by huge injections of foreign cash. But it never really stopped being third world in the way that it was run.

Bitcoin could, theoretically, benefit some Greek people now in the heat of the crisis because the Greek government wouldn't be able to impose capital controls on it. Thus preventing the outright theft of whatever little cash Greek's have left in the bank (sorry, I mean, solidarity tax/haircut/pick euphemism of choice). It is no magical cure for Greece's problems but it could tip the balance away from a government that discovered it was paying salaries and pensions for entirely non-existent departments, and towards people who are just trying to make a living.

Comment: Re:Ok Google, time to ditch Java (Score 1) 159 159

Lots of things can be considered an API. For instance, who owns the copyright on OpenGL? Does anyone even know? What about HTTP? After all, a protocol is basically an API that runs over wires instead of call stacks. And HTTP/2.0 is a derivative work of SPDY which is .... developed by Google. And is now being added back into Java. What about SQL? It's managed by ISO these days so probably Oracle would avoid slicing their own throats like this.

Following this US ruling all sorts of people and companies are now finding that they own IP they never even knew they had. This is already making lawyers the world over start licking their lips. It's going to be a shitstorm.

Comment: Re:Bullshit narrative ... (Score 1) 218 218

It's systematically ignoring laws and regulations while going "wah wah, we're teh underdogs".

Uber is not unregulated and they do not stand in opposition to regulations in general, contrary to what many seem to believe.

What we're witnessing here is not State Vs Anarchy Round One. What we're witnessing is quite simply State Regulation vs Corporate Regulation. The existential question Uber faces is, can they convince society and government (not the same thing) that they're better at regulating taxi drivers via their technology than local taxi commissions are via paperwork? Even if Uber triumphs, this will not mean widespread usage of unregulated taxis, it just means that taxi drivers will live in fear of getting low star ratings instead of having their local medallion revoked.

Comment: Re: AirBNB is hurting Barcelona, badly. (Score 1) 103 103

Getting drunk and running amok is something you do when not home--at home you might exercise some moderation, or there'd be people who'd call you out on it whose authority you'd feel obligated to respect

I hate to say it, given that I'm British, but unfortunately the problem of a subset of Brits getting completely wasted and engaging in shitty, boorish behaviour isn't something restricted to holiday times. For some reason the UK just has a far more serious problem with drinking than other cultures and it happens at home as well. I normally don't go to the sort of European resort towns that the hooligan set like to frequent but on the occasions that I have done, it's always embarrassing as fuck to be a young male British tourist because you can sense the suspicion locals have that you might be about to do something stupid. The worst was when I visited Bratislava. Lovely city (well, town, by UK standards). The pub in the city centre had the phone number of the British embassy on the beer mats, for people to call in an emergency. The men's toilets had a poster warning Brits specifically not to hit on the local girls. When I was there, a group of Brits came in with some unbelievably grotesque, obese men being led by some extremely hot local girl. Very obviously a stag do. As one of the fattest guys walked past the table where me and my friend were sitting he said (very loudly) "I want to see some TITS".

I pretended to be Canadian. Luckily I don't have a strong British accent at all and I was travelling with an American, so it was somewhat plausible.

I think you're completely right that this behaviour is partly learned and transmitted, like some sort of mind virus. For some reason Brits seem far more likely than other people to feel they can't have fun or be socially relaxed until they've got drunk, and will happily admit it. It's not seen as something shameful, people just blurt it out, like saying it somehow makes them one of the group. Combine it with a culture that practically celebrates "laddishness" as being fundamental to being a man, and you've got a recipe for trouble.

Comment: Re:Randomness can't come from a computer program (Score 1) 64 64

Most of us do have a need to transmit messages privately. Do you not make any online purchases?

Yes, but those have to use public-key encryption. I am sure of my one-time-pad encryption because it's just exclusive-OR with the data, and I am sure that my diode noise is really random and there is no way for anyone else to predict or duplicate it. I can not extend the same degree of surety to public-key encryption. The software is complex, the math is hard to understand, and it all depends on the assumption that some algorithms are difficult to reverse - which might not be true.

Comment: Re:Bad RNG will make your crypto predictable (Score 2) 64 64

The problem with FM static is that you could start receiving a station, and if you don't happen to realize you are now getting low-entropy data, that's a problem.

There are many well-characterized forms of electronic noise: thermal noise, shot noise, avalanche noise, flicker noise, all of these are easy to produce with parts that cost a few dollars.

Comment: Randomness can't come from a computer program (Score 2, Interesting) 64 64

True randomness comes from quantum mechanical phenomena. Linux /dev/random is chaotic, yes, enough to seed a software "R"NG. But we can do better and devices to do so are cheap these days.

I wouldn't trust anything but diode noise for randomness. If I had a need to transmit messages privately, I'd only trust a one-time pad.

Comment: Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 1) 937 937

Communism has been tried on a large scale - see Mao's Great Leap Forward.

Nope. That was a totalitarian socialist program pushing a collectivism that didn't work. Communism is a post-scarcity society and obviously scarcity was the thing Mao produced best.

Comment: Singularity OS (Score 1) 374 374

Did you ever check out Microsoft Research's Singularity OS, which implemented a new OS kernel from scratch in a dialect of C#. It has no traditional processes and relies on software/compiler enforced isolation instead of VMM/page tables. It has some other rather interesting ideas in it too, like contract based IPC channels. Relatedly, there was some work done a while ago to allow better integration between garbage collected heaps and the kernel swap system (bookmarking collectors), but the patches were never merged. Do you have any thoughts on how Linux could better support non-C/C++ based software in this way?

Counting in binary is just like counting in decimal -- if you are all thumbs. -- Glaser and Way

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