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Comment Corporate Persons (Score 5, Insightful) 81

So wait. Not only does Uber choose to commandeer Slashdot at every opportunity to spout off how great it is through increasingly vehement sockpuppet ACs and the pushing of clickbait articles, it ALSO feels the need to pull you aside and fill you in on its paranoid fantasies?

Man, 'corporate personhood' is weird. This is distinctly a personality that's consistent and recognizable. Just yeah.

Excuse me, Uber. I think I see somebody over there that I know D:

Comment That girl in school is looking just a bit smarter (Score 1) 307

I attended a screening of Birth of a Nation at school, which had a panel discussion after the film. One of the questions fielded from the audience was, "Were those actual Civil War battle scenes?". I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing for the rest of the panel.

That girl is looking just a bit smarter now. At least they had still photography during the Civil War, so the possibility of some early, expensive, motion picture system is at least plausible. Not knowing that we've never been anywhere near Mars with humans? I think that's a whole new level.

Comment Re:Bugs mistaken as features? (Score 1) 157

Features like that wouldn't be so bad if there were a way to isolate their use. For example, ordinary Perl files could be .pl and not allowed to change the language. Perl files that mucked with the language in various ways would be required to have a .pld (Perl Language Definition) suffix. That way you could make rules like, "No PLD files in this project" or "only Joe has permission to change the PLD and you'd better have a damned good reason for asking him to change it".

There are legit reasons to modify the language, create DSLs and code in them, etc. It's just like how there are legit reasons to have Howitzers in the army, but you don't just turn them over to PFCs straight out of boot and say, "here, figure this out".

Comment Re:Uber is paying slashdot. (Score 1) 215

This has been standard operating procedure in a number of controversial industries: the critic Film Crit Hulk is on record as saying when he was a student of oceanography he was offered cash money, straight up, to write anti-global-warming papers. We only hear about this stuff when someone turns it down for whatever reason.

Comment Re:GOOD GRIEF! (Score 1) 568

If you want a real mindfuck, try looking up what sucralose is.

Stuff messes with my head like a psychotropic drug and gives my Mom diarrhea to the point that she avoids it, and this is an old lady who trusts ALL medicines and food additives implicitly and yet this one she shies away from, due to bad experiences.

Use that science and chemistry background to tell you whether you're familiar with sucralose, go on. It's in EVERYTHING these days. It's in stuff that's already loaded with sugar and HFCS. Read labels and then read what the stuff is.

Comment International harmonization? (Score 1) 109

AFAIK, in the US you can use "the best" but not "better than" unless you have a way to back it up. Thus, "the best beer" is OK, but "better than Bud" is not OK unless you cite some specific like, "beat Bud in a blind taste test".

Having different rules for different countries is probably going to give international ad campaigners some fits. That's the beauty of sovereignty though. Different systems, and we get to see what's workable in practice and what isn't.

Comment Re:Let's get this out of the way (Score 1) 447

Let's face it, what could possibly go right?

It could be a fantastic writing prompt for some would-be author. The next Great American Novel collaboratively written by a tight cadre, or perhaps written by a single hacker with multiple accounts. I'd like to see what Stephen King could do with a dozen accounts on this thing.

BTW, my first review of King will be, "great stories, but he keeps dying at 54".

Comment Re:They certainly are a criminal organisation... (Score 3, Insightful) 471

More like the high cost of medallions is the free market assigning value.

Back when there was no limit on the number of taxis, there was thirty thousand taxis in New York, all breaking down and crappy. The medallions are literally about fixing the number of taxis, because when the free market decided how many taxis there should be, it clogged all the streets with taxis and New York City broke.

I realize it's a scary and new thought that the free market can cough up a totally wrong answer, but that's what happened. More often than not, the free market coughs up a hairball rather than an optimal answer, mostly because it cannot cope with externalities: it's short-term like the stock market.

How many times do we have to go through this nonsense? I'll give you this, however, it's good at 'disrupting'. Too bad that's not long-term useful.

Comment Re:They certainly are a criminal organisation... (Score 1, Insightful) 471

Taxi medallions costing hundreds of thousands of dollars aren't an idea, they're the free market. If you don't like it, that might be a hint that you've learned something about the free market, and don't like that as much as you thought. It's nothing more than the natural setting of a price for a situation that's otherwise restricted. From Slate:

Things weren't always this way. When New York City first issued taxi medallions in 1937, they were just licenses, worth $150 in today’s terms. In the years after, life was pretty good for cabbies, as it was for many low-skill employees in postwar America. Some drivers owned their cabs. The rest were unionized employees who worked on commission and received a full slate of employee benefits.

Crucially, the owners were in the taxi business and took on the risk that entailed. If gas prices went up, that came out of the owners’ pockets. If drivers had a bad shift, the owners did too.

All that began to change in 1979. That year, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission changed its rules to allow medallions to be leased out for 12-hour shifts, making cabdrivers “independent contractors” under federal labor laws. The move cost such drivers their benefits, but the real fallout was far more profound. Even for medallion owners who operated their own taxi fleets, the economic value of the right to pick up fares was now severed from the value of actually doing so.

Uber is nothing more than a replacement medallion system in which capital interests lobby the system to get what they want. It hangs the drivers out to dry as much as Great Depression taxicabs ever did, and replaces private medallion ownership as a speculative investment with corporate market domination as a mode of disruption. It's not an alternative to the medallion system, it's a consolidation and doubling down of the mechanisms that made the medallion system what it is.

Comment Re:All about Taxi Laws (Score 3, Insightful) 471

People working as musicians and sound engineers know 'sharing culture' as 'we will never get paid again, because mp3s replaced all the superior media people used to pay money to have'. These things cut various ways, and while your classic Stallman type 'code ideas are free' sharing is clearly about promoting understanding and collective knowledge for the betterment of all, in a capitalist system that is only one of many values to be weighed.

Get rid of money and you'll see 'sharing culture'. Using 'sharing culture' to help a psychotic corporation obliterate the world's applecart as far as livery services, is an exploit and has nothing to do with the 'collective knowledge' thing anymore.

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.