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Comment: Not new behavior, in any case (Score 1) 59

by macraig (#49419477) Attached to: How Comcast Bankrolls Organizations That Support TWC Merger

I don't know if this is supposed to be shocking because it's new behavior, but it's not (new behavior). I saw the very same selfish gimme-my-cut-of-the-bigger-pie behavior from nonprofit community groups in particular when the California Public Utilities Commission held public hearings to gather input about the proposed merger of AT&T and SBC (formerly Pacific Telesis Group, formerly Pacific Bell, formerly AT&T, ad nauseum).

There were representatives from quite a few local community nonprofit groups from all over California in attendance. They were there almost universally for one reason: to promote the merger and thus guarantee their cut of what they deemed to be a bigger pie if the merger were approved. California state law requires that utilities set aside a percentage of their profits to return to the local communities they rape errrr support. This is done in part via the aforementioned nonprofits, who receive a significant share.

They had all analyzed the effect of the merger and concluded that it would result in a more profitable company, which would thus set aside a larger pool of CPUC mandated funds, and thus they'd receive more money than before. They didn't give a damn whether the merger was actually beneficial for the people they supposedly served (it wasn't); they only cared about grabbing more money.

Comment: What of other more disastrous modes of failure? (Score 1) 204

by macraig (#49244001) Attached to: Endurance Experiment Kills Six SSDs Over 18 Months, 2.4 Petabytes

This experiment only documents the survivability of the NAND Flash itself, really. I've had two consumer SSDs and at least one SD fail completely for other reasons; they became completely un-usable, not just un-writable. In the case of the SSDs at least, I was told it was due to internal controller failure, meaning the NAND itself was fine but the circuits to control and access it were trashed. I suppose a platter-drive analog to that would be having the platters in mint condition with all data intact but the servo coil melted, or something.

Since I've only owned three consumer SSDs and two of those died from a mode of failure that wasn't even addressed by this experiment, what am I to make of the real value of the results? They certainly have no meaning for me, but YMMV.

Comment: "Mass" surveillance isn't always a bad thing (Score 1) 239

by macraig (#49023919) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

Mass surveillance isn't always a bad thing: it's only bad if the means to surveil is restricted to a privileged class. What if the mass surveillance is ubiquitous, where the means to surveil is available to anyone with motive? In such a modified world of mass surveillance, there are strong potential benefits that can emerge, not universally bad ones. We can already see some of the benefits of such a shift in the ability of citizens to use mobile devices to surveil public police misbehavior. Now imagine if that was the rule rather than an exception? What if all the data snarfed up by the NSA was available to anyone with the desire to sift through it?

Don't mindlessly try to end "mass" surveillance out of fear of the ruling class; instead change who has access to it. Ending mass surveillance entirely is the Luddite response to what is fundamentally a social problem.

Comment: Re:Unintended consequences (Score 1) 167

by macraig (#48421907) Attached to: Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

That's right, you can't, because nobody has objectively asked and tried to answer that question, not the inventors of such devices and not you. It's a question that ought to be answered BEFORE we add yet another variable to the climate system. not AFTER we have hundreds of thousands or millions of the devices in operation.

Comment: Unintended consequences (Score 0, Troll) 167

by macraig (#48420465) Attached to: Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

Just like most every other so-called green solution, this one has a not-so-rosy underbelly: what happens if this becomes a popular device and everyone is using them? What effect will that have on local and global climate to have so much ground-level moisture removed from the air? This is not unlike the underbelly of windmill farms that just happen to kill birds and bats and also alter the local climate by removing energy from the weather system.

Comment: Re:China is more capitalistic than the USA (Score 1) 73

by macraig (#48238699) Attached to: First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China

That is certainly a significant part of it, an aspect I have observed and described in the past. There's more to it than just that. Socialism gets a bad rap because humans aren't yet evolved to make it naturally work voluntarily on a massive scale; it works well enough at an intimate village scale, but not for an entire nation. That it is voluntary is critical, because what's the point of an ethical economy if unethical force is required to establish and maintain it? That is why Communism fails miserably.

Comment: Re:China is more capitalistic than the USA (Score 5, Insightful) 73

by macraig (#48238537) Attached to: First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China

You don't say overtly that it's a bad thing that the United States has socialistic constraints on its capitalistic economy... and it's not. Socialism - NOT Communism - done well is a far better economic system for advanced societies than capitalism. Better to call it mutualism or voluntary socialism. In the context of any advanced society pure capitalism can never be done well; it reaches a peak benefit - the United States has passed that point - and then begins to cause irreparable harm that leads to eventual economic and social collapse. It's a cyclic process that repeats as long as capitalism is the economic law of the jungle. We must evolve our species to more naturally cooperate rather than compete and combat.

Factorials were someone's attempt to make math LOOK exciting.