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Comment Where is the scandal? (Score 1) 356

In at least one way or another, the vast majority of private companies pushing ground-breaking technologies have relied on a higher than typical level of government support because, sorry, the free market just can't solve these sorts of hard problems on its own. This is how things are *supposed* to work--let both government and private enterprise play their role. Musk is always really transparent about this.

However perhaps one good thing about articles like this is that they should quiet down the libertarian types that are trying to co-opt Musk's successes as some sort of shining example of their ideology.

Comment See the recent Frontline "American Terrorist" (Score 5, Insightful) 56

http://video.pbs.org/video/236... The recent Frontline documentary "American Terrorist" (which investigates American-born David Coleman Headley and his involvement in the Mumbai assault and the thwarted attack on a Danish newspaper) seemed to reach a similar conclusion. It was originally touted as an NSA bulk data collection success story by high level officials, but they had to backpedal as the truth emerged.

The conclusion seems to be that while they are able to collect a vast amount of information, they are unable to process and analyze all of the information gathered and connect it to individuals that warrant investigation. And Headley was extremely messy in many situations (e.g. directly contacting wanted terrorist leaders) where others certainly are not--so messy that my confidence in the NSA's abilities has diminished (this is assuming bulk data collection is a good thing to begin with, and I don't think it is). The data collected mainly became useful *after* an incident rather than being used to thwart an attack.

Perhaps things have changed by now as this is an investigation of something that happened several years ago, but I highly recommend the documentary.

Comment Not necessarily (Score 2) 298

From http://phys.org/news/2015-04-t...

There seems to be a cultural preference as well.

Stulp pointed to figures showing that, in the United States, shorter women and men of average height have the most reproductive success.

"There is much variation in what men and women want," he said.

"When it comes to choosing a mate, height tends to have (only) a small effect, which is not very surprising given the many other, more important, traits people value in their mate."

Comment Re:Sounds good (Score 1) 599

I agree that it is the first step but if the FCC did not plan to simultaneously remove the requirement of local loop unbundling (and other things, such as rate regulation), we would've been much better off. It shows that despite the public's concern over net neutrality, the FCC is ultimately still in the pocket of the telecoms.

I also agree that competition is the solution, but we may not agree on how it should come about. There are very few Googles out there that can afford these sort of high capital infrastructure projects and even google is limiting their rollout to only those places where it is very profitable. In other words, it is a natural monopoly. Thus we need local loop unbundling, and a separation of service providers from content providers and highly regulated infrastructure providers. Simply doing away with territorial exclusivity will not solve the problem.

Comment Re:common man (Score 1) 194

And since we can't all be superstars at X, only the people that are superstars at X should bother trying?

I don't think this is true. Most importantly, just because one's performance at something is not among the best doesn't mean one cannot find enjoyment in it (not to mention the people that are just good, good enough for employment in it, or even especially bad at it compared to others). And in life finding the things that are most enjoyable is probably the one of the most worthwhile things you can do (at least if you attribute any value to happiness). With programming and mathematics in particular, it is not always obvious that you enjoy them from the outset: how the subjects are presented can dramatically affect one's enjoyment of them, and there is often a hurdle you need to get over in order to discover the pleasure of participating.

This was especially true for myself: up until my first year of college, I hated mathematics and most intellectual pursuits. Then I had an enthusiastic instructor in college that (among other things) approached mathematics from the "pure" perspective rather than the "applied" and to say the least it was life changing. And from mathematics I learned the joy of learning for its own sake rather than simply for its "utility", and this blossomed into a passion for many other subjects I would have never dreamed I would enjoy. Now I spend the majority of my time on them (to many's confusion and sometimes frustration), but just imagine how much better my life could have been had I experienced such a teacher when I was, say, 8 years of age. On the other hand, perhaps another "authority figure" of my youth would have come along and shattered such a passion anyway with a statement like "a genius will accomplish more than you ever will, common man, so don't waste our time"

And, not that this was being argued, but I don't buy the argument that "All people that are interested in X naturally gravitate toward X regardless of all other external factors." In the case of programming or mathematics, such an external factor might be an anti-intellectual culture (such as in the U.S., Brazil, etc etc) or ignorant backwaters stuck in their own miniature "Dark Ages"--where e.g. deep-set insecurities or prejudices are cultivated.

Comment Should fix chat so people actually use it first... (Score 0) 216

Maybe they should fix Steam Chat so people actually use it first? The only way that chat channels will stay populated and thus see any use is if there's a simple autojoin mechanism. It is silly that users have to manually join each individual chat room every time they start up Steam (they end result of course being that ... they don't). Right now you have groups with tens of thousands of members but no one joins the chat channel.

People have been asking for this since fucking 2008 ( http://forums.steampowered.com... ). And yes there are workarounds to make autojoin work but they don't apply here since the point is to give the average user a chance to join.

Until they get autojoin to work, Steam Chat will be practically useless, so the idea that considering its use for pirating games is quite silly.

Comment Re:Don't get too excited (Score 4, Interesting) 379

If only I had mod points. This is exactly my concern. It's as if they're dangling NN in front of us while slipping the rug out from under our feet.

From what I understand, the main problem is that we need to force the industry, kicking and screaming, to compete by "artificial" means because there is no naturally occuring free market (or anything close to it) in telecommunications. This is why the libertarian view of "if we only did away with franchise agreements granting territorial exclusivity..." wouldn't solve the main problem.

Comment No last mile unbundling? (Score 2) 379

Don't want to rain on the parade, but I'm hoping someone more knowledgeable can chime in here: Isn't last mile unbundling the main thing we need? Doesn't this reduce competition? (the main thing that the FCC needs to artficially induce in the natural monopoly that is telecommunications?)

I'm really hoping these "modernizations" of Title II aren't just a "compromise" where the industry makes out better anyway.

UNIX is hot. It's more than hot. It's steaming. It's quicksilver lightning with a laserbeam kicker. -- Michael Jay Tucker

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