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Comment: Re:Start spreadin' the rants... (Score 1) 105

by orasio (#49628343) Attached to: The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

Per capita might not be fair.

Cities are not useful only for their inhabitants, they serve a function for the whole economy. Since resources are concentrated, value can be created more efficiently, economies of scale, and whatnot.

Another way of seeing it, is how much waste for NYC generate per dollar. It has a GDP over 1400 billion dollars.
This means that, if you were to get rid of NYC, because it's too wasteful, you would need around 4 or 5 large cities to replace the value it creates.

Probably, resource-wise, and waste-wise, nyc is not that inefficient, when you take into account, in your efficiency equation, that its value is much larger than hosting several million people.


French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the privacy-surrenders dept.
Taco Cowboy writes: Thanks to the Charlie Hebdo massacre and other instances of terrorism, the French legislature has voted 438 to 86 in favor of the "Intelligence Service Bill," essentially a French version of the Patriot Act. It awards the French intelligence services sweeping powers to tap and intercept any kind of digital correspondence, including phone conversations, emails, and social media.

The bill decrees that hosting providers and Internet service providers in France must be equipped with a "black box" that can retain all digital communications from customers. "The new law would create a 13-member National Commission to Control Intelligence Techniques, which would be made up of six magistrates from the Council of State and the Court of Appeals, three representatives of the National Assembly, three senators from the upper house of Parliament and a technical expert. ... The only judicial oversight is a provision that allows the commission to lodge a complaint with the Council of State, but lawyers are doubtful that it could be convened on a routine basis." We previously discussed news that ISPs may leave France in protest if the bill was passed. Now we'll know shortly if those ISPs will live up to their word.

Comment: Re:There's not a good record of public utilities (Score 1) 102

by orasio (#49620227) Attached to: I've had my current ISP (disregarding mergers) for ...

You are talking Economy 101. I took that kind of course.

In practice, it's more complicated.
Telecom is not a free market, it naturally tends to a monopoly, or duopoly, because of the large barriers to entry, and government regulation.
There's no real competition, and no monetary incentive to keep offering good service once you are at the top.

Again, there might be competition in some pockets, like high density urban spots, but it's harder to have competition as density is lower.

To try and simulate competition through government intervention (forcing to share infrastructure, things like that) seems a bit backwards. It costs money, and only brings indirect results, if any.

Again, my question was, why do we trust the government to build roads, but not internet infrastructure?

(Of course there's the issue of full government control over the infrastructure, spying, filtering and stuff, but now everybody knows that private companies won't safeguard you from a hostile government, they will even provide APIs for your data )

Comment: Re:Ah - an American speaks (Score 1) 102

by orasio (#49615573) Attached to: I've had my current ISP (disregarding mergers) for ...

Where I live (south america), it's a monopoly for the state owned telecom.

I pay 26 dollars, and get 30/2, fiber. Phone service is 10 extra.
Most people in urban areas have fiber, also.

Market forces can help you only so much. In other small countries, multinationals own markets, and they set prices at their will.

Telecom is strategic infrastructure, and there's a lot of money, if the state can be trusted to build and maintain roads, why not internet?

Comment: Re:Let's rephrase the article (Score 2) 251

by orasio (#49588085) Attached to: Bitcoin Is Disrupting the Argentine Economy

Luckily, Uruguay's financial markets no longer rely heavily on dirty Argentinian money. There is still a lot of that money around here, but not as much as it used to be, so less financial risk for us.
Anyway, a major financial meltdown in Argentina would most definitely affect us, and that's why I care.

Comment: Re:BitPagos? Rock Hostel? (Score 1) 251

by orasio (#49587755) Attached to: Bitcoin Is Disrupting the Argentine Economy

The one in Plaza Independencia?
They have a neon sign for bicoin safe deposit boxes, but they don't look that secure, I think you can even see them from the street.
Also, their windows are lined with weird posters, like 9/11 conspiracy stuff.

I'm betting that''s just some guy, slightly nuts, with a bit of money to rent a place, not a real business.

Comment: Re:McDonalds nutrition (Score 1) 629

by orasio (#49562499) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

When I go to mac donalds, I get a hamburger and a diet soda (I don't really care for the fries).
Makes sense for me, a 500-600 calorie meal. I't a nice lunch, tastes good (all beef, even MCD, is awesome this side of the world), and even has lettuce and tomato.

A standard McDonalds hamburger does not come with lettuce and tomato. Catsup, mustard, pickle, minced onions. Has 240 calories.

Notice the word "I". When _I_ go, I have a hamburger (type not specified) and a diet soda (also not specified).

The hamburger I get is a McNifica, which, does have lettuce and tomato, alongside a largish patty. Looked it up, 541 kcal (

In your example, that double big mac has 700 calories.

A Big Mac has 530 calories. Not sure what a double Big Mac is since it isn't a standard part of McDonald's menu. By itself a Big Mac is fine now and then but people rarely eat just a Big Mac. Usually they have some fries and a sugar loaded soft drink too. This easily can get the meal over 1000 calories as you mention which is about half the daily caloric intake for an adult male.

You are missing the point at "usually". The GP was complaining about fat people _omitting_ the sugar, effectively keeping the caloric below insane ranges.

Comment: Re:danger vs taste (Score 1, Informative) 629

by orasio (#49561311) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Overweight person here, but not from McD.

When I go to mac donalds, I get a hamburger and a diet soda (I don't really care for the fries).
Makes sense for me, a 500-600 calorie meal. I't a nice lunch, tastes good (all beef, even MCD, is awesome this side of the world), and even has lettuce and tomato.

In your example, that double big mac has 700 calories. Not a diet meal, but not that excessive. It even has a lot of lettuce, which is good against blood sugar spikes, esp. a good thing for most fat people. A diet coke is zero cal,, but a large coke in the US add 300 calories, reaching 1000 which is too much for a single meal. You are right that large fries, at 500, are not a good idea, though.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 302

You take an old copy from the public domain, invest time and money, make it beautiful, and republish it.
Now, your work is copyrighted.

Some other guy can take an old copy and make it beautiful, but not yours. That's protected by copyright. He would have to invest again. And then compete against you.

So it's even better than in the case of books. With books, after they are in the public domain, it's a free for all, very low barriers to entry. With stuff that needs to be restored, it's even more lucrative for the republisher, because they get a new copyright, less competition.

Also, note that this only covers the 70-90 years of undigitized stuff. Todays works won't need _that_ kind of work done to be republished.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 2) 302

Very interesting point, in theory. Luckily, that kind of thing has been studied, and it=s the other way around. Copyrights hinder availability, and entering public domain is an incentive for publishing.
Look at this, it was a study on Amazon availability of books :
This shows that books seem to get republished as soon as they enter the public domain, and for a long time after that too.

Comment: Re:"Full responsibilty?" (Score 5, Insightful) 334

by orasio (#49538939) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

Is killing an American hostage worse than killing a non American hostage? For practical purposes, we know it is, and even the Italian guy is from another NATO country, so not an American but an ally.
But I just would like to know if there's any difference on paper in your responsibility, when you kill non hostile local civilians vs your own civilians / allies .

Also, about the title, drones don't kill people. Some force did, or some guy behind the controls, but the drone itself, no matter how autonomous it might be, doesn't kill people.

United States

Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden 686

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-sir-I-don't-like-him dept. writes: Newsmax reports that according to KRC Research, about 64 percent of Americans familiar with Snowden hold a negative opinion of him. However 56 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 have a positive opinion of Snowden which contrasts sharply with older age cohorts. Among those aged 35-44, some 34 percent have positive attitudes toward him. For the 45-54 age cohort, the figure is 28 percent, and it drops to 26 percent among Americans over age 55, U.S. News reported. Americans overall say by plurality that Snowden has done "more to hurt" U.S. national security (43 percent) than help it (20 percent). A similar breakdown was seen with views on whether Snowden helped or hurt efforts to combat terrorism, though the numbers flip on whether his actions will lead to greater privacy protections. "The broad support for Edward Snowden among Millennials around the world should be a message to democratic countries that change is coming," says Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "They are a generation of digital natives who don't want government agencies tracking them online or collecting data about their phone calls." Opinions of millennials are particularly significant in light of January 2015 findings by the U.S. Census Bureau that they are projected to surpass the baby-boom generation as the United States' largest living generation this year.

German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal 282

Posted by Soulskill
from the non-crazy-software-judgments dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Following a four-month trial, a German court in Hamburg has ruled that the practice of blocking advertising is perfectly legitimate. Germany-based Eyeo, the company that owns Adblock Plus, has won a case against German publishers Zeit Online and Handelsblatt. These companies operate,, and Their lawsuit, filed on December 3, charged that Adblock Plus should not be allowed to block ads on their websites. While the decision is undoubtedly a big win for users today, it could also set a precedent for future lawsuits against Adblock Plus and any other tool that offers similar functions. The German court has essentially declared that users are legally allowed to control what happens on their screens and on their computers while they browse the Web.

ISS Could Be Fitted With Lasers To Shoot Down Space Junk 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the point-and-shoot dept.
An anonymous reader writes Japan's Riken research institute has suggested a new idea for dealing with space junk. They say a fiber optic laser mounted onto the International Space Station could blast debris out of the sky. From the article: "To combat the increasingly dense layer of dead satellites and miscellaneous space debris that are enshrouding our planet, no idea — nets, lassos, even ballistic gas clouds — seems too far-fetched to avoid. Now, an international team of researchers led by Japan's Riken research institute has put forward what may be the most ambitious plan to date. They propose blasting an estimated 3,000 tons of space junk out of orbit with a fiber optic laser mounted on the International Space Station."

This is now. Later is later.