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Comment: Re:Public goods (Score 0) 88

by msauve (#48940017) Attached to: US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion
It's completely illegitimate. Nowhere does the US Constitution grant the federal government the power to sell public resources to private interests. The closest is the "takings clause," which is exactly the opposite, taking private property for public use.

Furthermore, nowhere is spectrum mentioned (of course, it wasn't known about at the time), so it should be covered by the 10th Amendment, and left to the states. Before someone claims that the nature of spectrum demands federal oversight due to it's pervasive nature, I'll point to Europe and elsewhere with closely situated political divisions.

Comment: Population density. (Score 1) 469

by msauve (#48934819) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?
"at the time had 3 local ISPs to choose from, all offering the fastest modem connections at the time"

Sounds like in reality you had a single provider - the telco which would connect your modem to the modem of an ISP.

Faster than that, you would have used ISDN or DSL on those same wires, which required progressively shorter distances to the local telco facility, reducing their availability to rural customers. That continues on with cable modem and fiber networks - they aren't built out as far as the old copper telco circuits were.

Europe is much more population dense, so the build-out of higher speed links has a better ROI. There are lots of rural areas in the US where the ROI is too small to justify a build-out, so it doesn't happen. To compare, the US has a population density of about 83 per square mile, Germany is about 593. And although I couldn't find a metric, I suspect that the population in Europe is more evenly distributed, too.

Comment: Re:It'll never happen (Score 4, Funny) 285

by msauve (#48925345) Attached to: The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...
"I thought someone had proven, with a good thought experiment, that this will never happen."

You don't need to be able to shake hands in order to discover life. Perhaps we merely pick up their version of Dancing With the Stars". Wait. Never mind, it's supposed to be intelligent life.

Comment: In other words. (Score 5, Insightful) 77

by msauve (#48922807) Attached to: Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval
"Thirty Minneapolis city buildings will get free basic cable for the next seven years"

Which is to say Comcast is helping Minneapolis increase taxes. We all know there's no such thing as "free," so this is simply a hidden tax on cable subscribers, who will now be subsidizing municipal cable.

Comment: Re:Physics 101? (Score 2) 139

by msauve (#48886585) Attached to: Scientists Slow the Speed of Light
Ummm... This sounds like Reading Comprehension 101... right there in the summary, you don't even have to RTFA:

this is very different to the slowing effect of passing light through a medium such as glass or water, where the light is only slowed during the time it is passing through the material--it returns to the speed of light after it comes out the other side. The effect of passing the light through the mask is to limit the top speed at which the photons can travel.

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