Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Article is stupid (Score 2) 219

by njnnja (#49752553) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

This. You can't simply run these sorts of numbers on an ELE because the risk isn't the risk that *I* might die, but rather, that my entire species might die. It's a totally different thing that asteroid hunters are worried about. And the chances of all of humanity being wiped out in one is actually much higher than the probability that all of humanity gets wiped out in a giant plane crash, or series of plane crashes.

It's like complaining that people who are worried about getting hit by a truck shouldn't be concerned because there are a lot of other things that might make them late for dinner (and are a lot more likely to happen). But being late for dinner isn't why one should be concerned about getting hit by a truck.

Comment: Re:Compelling? (Score 1) 243

by njnnja (#49728589) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

And the vertical integration that worked so well for the ipod of selling the songs and the hardware that goes with it doesn't seem to be the model that television is going. Almost no one is advocating for a television model where every episode of every show is purchased, like itunes did for songs on an album. People seem to want a bundle of shows, certainly all of the episodes of one show, and frequently many of the shows on a particular channel that they like (or small group of channels that they like). Whether cable tv, netflix, or amazon prime, people like to rent their television content by the month, and that isn't really Apple's thing.

Comment: Re:And OP is retarded. (Score 1) 335

by njnnja (#49725061) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

By "world ends" I mean the one of the many standard post apocalyptic scenarios of a natural or man made cataclysmic disaster where it doesn't make sense to put resources into keeping high technology printing presses working at the expense of other important infrastructure such as power plants and factories. And since dollar bills rot, the carrying costs are high (they would need to be stored carefully to avoid flooding, etc), and when handled regularly they have an average lifespan of only about 18 months. In a low technology world, precious metals are a pretty good technology for facilitating trade.

Comment: Re:And OP is retarded. (Score 1) 335

by njnnja (#49720887) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

You don't need an upper class to have need for a currency. Humans have been trading for thousands of years and even in a post apocalyptic scenario that will probably continue. A technology for currency is useful even at low levels of civilization, and gold and silver have proven to be pretty good technologies for that.

For example, let's say the "world ends" but you and your (extended) family have established a nice little homestead with a farm and plenty of ammo. You have two neighbors within a few miles who have done the same. But while you know how to cultivate wheat, one neighbor knows how to raise draft animals and your other neighbor is a doctor. While it's possible for you to barter with your neighbors to get what you want, your neighbors will find it hard to barter directly with each other. So maybe they use your wheat for a currency of sorts to facilitate trade; when the rancher's kid gets sick, he pays the doctor with extra wheat that he gets from trading a horse to you.

But this is a problem because the wheat will rot, and attract mice, and therefore has storage costs. And the doctor isn't going to sell his services on credit, so he wants something today. That something should be relatively rare, easily verified, have low carrying costs (i.e. doesn't rust or rot), and be somewhat portable. Gold and silver fit the bill, and those characteristics as a vehicle for trade are just as important as the edibility of wheat or the strength of a horse or ox.

Comment: Re:these viruses are the end of computing (Score 3, Informative) 38

by njnnja (#49664383) Attached to: 'Breaking Bad' Crypto Ransomware Targets Australian Users

It may be the end of local storage, but what does the average person need to have locally stored anyways? Purchased content can be more efficiently stored by the seller and streamed on demand. And for "irreplaceable" content like photos, I trust cloud providers to deal with grandma's pictures better than she ever could.

In the past, pipe size was the constraint that would lead people to store things locally but why shouldn't the average user leave all those headaches to someone else nowadays? More sophisticated users will continue to store things locally, but will also be better about off site backups and therefore less susceptible to this kind of ransomware anyways.

Comment: Re:I like this guy but... (Score 1) 438

by njnnja (#49585793) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules

Although I am theoretically in favor of net neutrality, I am practically against it. The same economic factors and corporate powers exist at the national level as they do at the municipal level, and although we might be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the first generation of net neutrality, I am confident that it won't take long before the Federal rules devolve into exactly the same sort of monopoly-protection setup that exists at the municipal level.

And having that happen at the national level is even worse than what has happened at the municipal level, where, in theory, one can move across town, or across state, or hope that your town changes its mind. But once Comcast owns the Feds, there will be no escape.

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 1) 703

by njnnja (#49578427) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

It's not really a Deist argument, where God created the universe with its physical laws and man evolved as a result of molecules following those physical laws. Nor is it a "God of the gaps" argument where God is whatever is outside of our current ability to describe things using science. Rather, just as one can believe that the universe has an order to it that we can uncover through science (e.g., Newton's laws weren't any different 10 million years ago and will continue to hold 10 million years from now), one can choose to believe that there is a *reason why* the universe has such an order to it. The anthropic principle is one way to answer that reason why. And the Catholic Church would say that the reason is that there is a Creator who not only created an orderly universe at the time of the big bang, but also continues in the creation of each new moment, not at odds with physical laws, but with them, and through them.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 1) 285

I purposely ignored supply considerations because the source of the apparent paradox is all on the demand side. Of course one could "resolve" the paradox by saying that there is a greater supply of water in the market than supply of diamonds but that still doesn't address what makes people uneasy about it; namely, that people *want* diamonds but *need* water. So it's really the demand that calls for an explanation, even though you are correct that you also need to think about supply to get a price.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 5, Interesting) 285

What is puzzling you is called the paradox of value. It can be described as the apparent paradox that water is necessary to life, while diamonds are not, but diamonds are much more expensive than water. The answer is that decisions to buy and sell are made at the margin, so the question isn't "How valuable is water to you?" but rather, "How valuable is the next gallon of water to you?" Since, in "our society", we have enough water to support life and agriculture, the marginal gallon of water is used, say, to water golf courses and wash cars. These low-value marginal uses means that the price of water is low, as is actually seen.

Similarly, with the average American's BMI pushing 30, the marginal value of the next strawberry isn't very big to the vast majority of Americans. So the price of strawberries is low, and there is little room to pay strawberry pickers a good wage. Also see Worth: Just because you're necessary doesn't mean you're important.


Comcast Officially Gives Up On TWC Merger 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeping-them-small-enough-to-govern dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Confirming speculation from yesterday, Comcast announced this morning that its attempt to merge with Time Warner Cable has been terminated. The announcement was very brief, but indicated that regulatory pressure was the reason they killed the deal. CEO Brian Roberts said, "Today, we move on. Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away." The Washington Post adds, "The move by regulators to throw up roadblocks shows that the government has grown concerned about massive media conglomerates bigfooting rivals that are finding success by streaming content over the Internet, analysts said. And after years of approving a wave of mergers in the industry — including that of Comcast and NBC Universal in 2011 — federal officials are taking a new tone, they said."

Comment: Re:Buying cars based on fuel price... ugh (Score 1) 622

by njnnja (#49528715) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

I once read a joke that if people were forced to spend 5 minutes a week, every week, staring at the price of yogurt in the supermarket, then we would all get upset when the price of yogurt went up. So it's not that gasoline is a huge part of the budget for a new car buyer, but it is an unavoidable reminder that gets thrown in their face each and every week that you are spending more and more money.

He who has but four and spends five has no need for a wallet.