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Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 168

Those rating agencies have been given a special position by the government. For example, as this article mentions, the Fed will only accept assets as collateral if they carry high ratings from S&P, Moody's and Fitch. Even an SEC Commissioner admits that the credit rating agencies have acted like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other companies that dominate the market because of government actions.

In a free market, poor credit rating agencies would go away, because if they lose the trust of investors, there is no longer any reason for companies to use those credit rating agencies. The reason that the big three know they have nothing to worry about is because they know the SEC and the Fed will continue to grant them special status.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 168

How does that differ from the pre-FDA situation? It would seem problems with that model is exactly why the FDA was created in the first place.

There have been plenty of withdrawn drugs and foodborne illness outbreaks under the reign of the FDA. If these are the types of "problems" that prove that the free market model does not work, then surely these problems also prove that the FDA model does not work?

The fact is, we don't know exactly what form the market would take if we allowed competition in the food and drug review business. For all we know, competition in that space may result in fewer withdrawn drugs and foodborne illness outbreaks. What we know for sure is that consumers will ultimately vote with their wallets. If the FDA's way of doing business is clearly superior, then it follows that consumers will only use FDA-approved products.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 168

If a drug maker, who produces drugs that are widely available and considered safe in other developed countries, can not export those drugs to this country, then I consider that to be incompetence on the FDA's part. It is okay to say, "I don't have enough funding to personally review this drug facility, so therefore I had to trust a foreign agency's approval process"; it is NOT okay to say, "I don't have enough funding to personally review this drug facility, so therefore it is BANNED."

But anyway, who is to say what constitutes "sufficient funding"? Instead of having a centrally planned monopoly and trying to determine a "sufficient" budget, I would much rather have competing companies that have to raise funds by convincing skeptical investors, and then have to generate profits by pleasing their customers.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 168

Mr. Shkreli bought the only FDA-approved treatment for toxoplasmosis. There are many cheaper versions of the drug around the world, but they are not FDA-approved. As this article explains, the FDA currently has a backlog of about 4,000 applications, and the median approval time for new generic drugs is 27 months. Thankfully, in this case, Imprimis was able to do an end run around the FDA's incompetence by making a compounded drug with the same ingredients as daraprim.

What is needed here is some more competition; not in the drug manufacturing business, but in the drug review business. In other words, why aren't entrepreneurs allowed to compete with the FDA? Perhaps the free market could even find a way to review generic drugs in less than 27 months. What if some private reviewer does a poor job? Well, consumers can decide if they are willing to trust drug reviewer A or drug reviewer B, just as consumers currently decide if they trust the reviews in Consumer Reports.

Or we could go with price controls. It seems to be working for Venezuela. Sure, there are constant shortages, but, hey, prices are always low!

Comment Re:The obvious answer (Score 1) 332

Start whacking industries who use the most water with a levy to pay for the plants. e.g. almond growers. If they are suddenly motivated to develop ways to save water then fine, if then don't then it's still a new plant.

Or better yet, let the market set the price for water. The California water shortage is just another example of what happens when we allow the government to manage resources.

Comment Re:What about the block chain size? (Score -1) 80

Why are you downloading the blockchain? The only reason I could think of that you would want the blockchain is if you're planning to do some solo bitcoin mining (if you're mining in a pool, then you don't need the blockchain).

If you're not mining bitcoin, then you don't need the blockchain. If you want to buy bitcoins, use If you want to move your bitcoins into a wallet that you control, use or coinbase's multisig vault. No need to rely on a third party (because you control the private keys), and no need to download the blockchain.

Submission + - Is D a Criminally Underrated Programming Language? (

Nerval's Lobster writes: While some programming languages achieved early success only to fall by the wayside (e.g., Delphi), one language that has quietly gained popularity is D, which now ranks 25 in the most recent Tiobe Index. Inspired by C++, D is a general-purpose systems and applications language that’s similar to C and C++ in its syntax; it supports procedural, object-oriented, metaprogramming, concurrent and functional programming. D’s syntax is simpler and more readable than C++, mainly because D creator Walter Bright developed several C and C++ compilers and is familiar with the subtleties of both languages. D’s advocates argue that the language is well thought-out, avoiding many of the complexities encountered with modern C++ programming. So shouldn't it be more popular?

Comment Re:raise money privately? (Score 1) 200

If it is easier for a municipal company to get access to existing municipal infrastructure, then the municipal must be making it harder for private companies to do so. This is an example of the local government standing in the way. Remember, I said they need to get out of the way.

Financing through municipal bonds is another example of government cheating, because holders of municipal bounds are exempt from federal income tax. Also, any extra "sense of legitimacy" that a municipal has is probably based on the assumption that a municipal company will be bailed out with tax payer money if necessary. Once again, if residents want high speed internet, can't it be provided by a company that follows the rules of every other private company?

As far as easements, I've never liked the idea of governments forcing easements on private property. I think the existing easements that were created by governments are immoral, and should be retroactively converted into a leasing agreement, in which property owners allow private companies (cable companies, power companies, etc.) to rent easements for a period of 5 to 10 years for some agreed upon yearly fee. That way, the relationship is more like landlord and tenant, instead of master (i.e. government) and slave (i.e. property owner).

Comment raise money privately? (Score 0) 200

If the residents of these cities want fiber internet, can't they just pool their money and start a privately owned ISP? Not only would the early investors get the internet speed that they want, but they'd make a profit as well after their company takes off. Or, if they want to, the early investors could even run the ISP like a cooperative. All that the city would have to do is get out of the way.

Now, if you tell me that that can't happen because customers would not be willing to pay enough money for their service to make the privately owned ISP profitable, then that means most residents don't actually want high speed internet. Right? If residents truly want high speed internet, then they should be able to make it happen without using any coercion.

It's not as if there is a free rider problem here; no one is getting internet service without paying their fair share. So, if you're telling me that we need taxation to "solve" this problem, then you're tacitly admitting that residents aren't willing to put their money where their mouth is, unless they are forced to.

Comment Re:Against Minimum Wage, For "Jobs"? (Score 1) 778

It's always amusing to see these people who are against raising the minimum wage justify their claims by saying that it will decrease jobs. For one, there is no evidence of that, only primitive debunked economic theory.

If you want to really see the effects of minimum wage, you should look at teenage workers. Teenage workers tend to be the most untrained, and therefore, the workers most affected by changes in the minimum. When you look at the effects of the minimum wage on teenage unemployment, the evidence is absolutely damning: In both the UK and New Zealand, teen unemployment rose strongly after a teen minimum wage was introduced.

Now, if you want to argue that teenage workers should be unemployed, go ahead. But if you're willing to admit that the minimum wage increases teenage unemployment, then you're going to have to do some serious mental gymnastics to believe that the minimum wage does not have any negative effects on those members of society who are older, but also relatively unskilled and/or untrained. The study referenced by slashdot proves nothing, because it is focused on the general unemployment rate, rather than the unemployment rate of the least productive members of society.

Comment Re:Can bitcoins be blacklisted? (Score 1) 88

It probably isn't practical, because there are ways to anonymize coins, such as Dark Wallet. But if bitcoins could be black listed, then they would no longer be fungible. Therefore, any company who attempted to do this would probably be shunned by the bitcoin community. In short, a blacklist maintained by "the powers that be" is fundamentally incompatible with the philosophy of a decentralized currency such as bitcoin.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 138

If a person is "affected by" out of context information, that simply means that other people decided to act differently towards that person based on that out of context information. You may not like how these other people decided to treat that person (i.e. refused to offer him or her a job in a particular industry), but these people are human beings, and therefore, entitled to make their own decisions, even in situations where you believe they are not fully informed.

By suppressing information because you believe it is "out of context", you are infringing the right of the speaker to spread the information, and you are infringing the right of others to make decisions based on that information. The fact that others made decisions based on that information that you don't approve of, does not prove that the information should have suppressed. If you believe that information is out of context, the correct response is to add your own voice to the conversation, so that you can provide context. And, once again, if others choose not to listen to you, that is not a good argument for censorship.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 138

The fact that your crime is not forgotten does not make it a life sentence. We all know that George Bush plead guilty to DUI when he was young, and yet, he was still able to find gainful employment (i.e. president of the US), because most people were willing to forgive him for something he did in his youth.

The fact is, the knowledge in my head is mine, and, assuming that I didn't sign a contract to keep it a secret, I have every right to make that information publicly available and searchable on a search engine. You, on the other hand, seem to believe that if my knowledge is about you, then we should act as if you own my knowledge, and thus, you should be able to override my freedom to disclose my knowledge about you.

The so-called "right to privacy" is not actually a right at all; it is simply what people call it when one person interferes with another's ability to share his or her memories and thoughts with the rest of the world.

Comment Re:Sexism (Score 1) 548

ability to [Y] != desire to [Y]. Assuming that every [group X] should have equal representation in [profession Y] is to assume that every [group X] has roughly the same number of members who want to do [profession Y]. Also, examples of countries where [group X] has equal representation in [profession Y] do not prove this assumption, either. For all we know, it may be that [profession Y] is merely seen as lucrative, and therefore members of [group X] are willing to do [profession Y] to make ends meet. They only way to truly know what members of [group X] want is to see what they would do if they had enough money to pursue whatever interest they want. And if different groups pursue different interests, it is not sexist to say that the differences in interests may have a genetic basis.

"I've seen the forgeries I've sent out." -- John F. Haugh II (jfh@rpp386.Dallas.TX.US), about forging net news articles