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Comment: Re:No more subsidies (Score 3, Interesting) 181

by danaris (#47935573) Attached to: FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

I'm still learning this law stuff, but aren't they are private corporations providing what is essentially a non-essential luxury product? Unless someone proves they are doing something illegal, the government doesn't have any grounds to require any buildout at all. Subsidies are actually good for the consumer in the sense that they are how the government can influence things like buildout and quality service. That is, assuming the ISPs don't just take the money and run. Again.

Well, first off, they fall under the FCC's jurisdiction as telecommunications companies of one stripe or another. So there's a certain amount of power to regulate them there.

Second of all, as you so astutely note, giving them federal funds with strings attached means they are sort of required to abide by the terms of those strings, and from what I understand (though I haven't researched this in-depth), they have, in fact, taken government money to do certain things that they have signally failed to do, which means there ought to at least be some sort of penalty until they do. Money might work—say, 10% of their gross income the first year they fail to comply, increasing to 20% the second year, 30% the third, until they either do their damn jobs or simply bleed to death.

Thirdly, there is a strong argument to be made (whether you agree with it or not; I happen to) that internet service is, at this point, no longer a "non-essential luxury product," but a basic service along the lines of telephone and power. As such, it should be regulated much more strictly than it has been to date. Ideally, the company that owns the physical hardware (the lines going to your house, for instance) should either be government-owned, or should at least be forbidden from actually providing any more than the hardware—they should have to lease the lines at one price to all comers in the ISP market, and have no "value-add services" of their own. That would remove the incentive for them to do anything with their money but invest it in better infrastructure.

Dan Aris

Comment: No more subsidies (Score 4, Insightful) 181

by danaris (#47935291) Attached to: FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

At this point, the various big ISPs have taken so much taxpayer money, and provided so little in return, that I'd say we should stop providing them with any subsidies, and still require the same level of buildout. They can take the balance out of their execs' bonuses from next quarter—which should be enough to cover a fair amount of infrastructure.

Dan Aris

Comment: Re:One Sure Way (Score 2) 275

by danaris (#47876115) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Yeah, if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.

Think I've heard that before...

Ummm...what?

That's generally brought up in the context of surveillance. Do you view reviews, by customers, of the products and/or services they've received from companies serving the public as being in the same category as overly broad and privacy-invading surveillance?

'Cause to me, that sounds like the kind of transparency a free market is built upon.

Dan Aris

Comment: One Sure Way (Score 5, Insightful) 275

by danaris (#47875779) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

There is one sure way to reduce negative reviews: Make sure your product and/or service is good quality.

Nothing can entirely eliminate negative reviews, because sometimes people just get a lemon product, or the person giving them service was having a bad day, or they're just ornery people who can't be satisfied. But if you do your job right, monitor your employees to make sure they're not slacking off or mistreating your customers—and, of course, the best way to do this is to make sure they're satisfied with their jobs in the first place—and don't skimp monetarily on the quality of your product, service, or employees, then you're likely to get more good reviews than bad.

Dan Aris

Comment: Another source (Score 1) 246

by danaris (#47861463) Attached to: Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

What the heck, I can jump in on this too.

If big corporations decide to pay as many taxes as they can, they'll have to get the money somewhere, so they will raise their prices, and it'll be you and me footing the bill.

Except that that's not always true.

If they're in a monopoly position, sure; they can theoretically raise prices whenever and however much they want. If they're not, however, then they might just have to reduce the execs' bonuses this quarter, instead. (After all, if they could have raised prices before, why didn't they?) If you look at the statistics on where the profits of corporations have been going more and more over the past 40 years or so, you'll see that there's plenty of room for compensation at the top to be reduced to pay for all this sort of thing.

Dan Aris

Comment: Switching == Moving (Score 2) 145

by danaris (#47828221) Attached to: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

Yes, seriously.

For a great many people, "switching ISPs" basically means moving. Because if you're lucky, you've got an option of DSL or cable, with DSL being effectively useless for anything but simple web browsing and email.

This is why we need true net neutrality—which means separating the medium from the message. Force the people who own the lines to at least lease them to anyone who asks, basically at cost...or, even better, break up the companies that own the lines so that that's all they do, and all the other services are part of a separate company.

Dan Aris

Comment: Re:This is also how Sarah Palin's email got "hacke (Score 1) 311

by danaris (#47817667) Attached to: Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak

If that were true there would be no religions or climate change deniers, they'd all be forgotten.

You're (apparently willfully obtusely) mixing up objective truth with what one believes to be true. It's always easier to remember facts that one has already learned (particularly from one's own past) than lies one has made up on the spot.

Dan Aris

Cellphones

Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements 253

Posted by Soulskill
from the easier-than-having-mcdonalds-stock-replacements dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: I would be in favor of a regulation requiring cell phone stores to have replacement phones on hand, for any phone model covered by a customer's insurance policy. Then customers who have insurance protection on their phones could get the damaged phones replaced instantly, and the replacement phones that are normally mailed out by overnight mail to customers under their protection plan, could instead be mailed to the stores to replace the one they just gave out to the customer. Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts

Comment: Re:Diet is very important. (Score 1) 588

by danaris (#47808631) Attached to: Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

because an enormous part of the problem is the percentage of our food today that is processed, and the percentage that contains vast amounts of sugar (and particularly high fructose corn syrup).

I realize this is a common tenet of anti-farm conglomerate arguments, and I am all against farm conglomerates. But this tidbit simply isn't true. HFCS is not mostly fructose as the name implies. The most common forms used in soft drinks and processed foods are 55% fructose, 42% glucose. Or 42% fructose, 53% glucose. Your body breaks down sucrose (e.g. natural cane sugar) into 50% fructose, 50% glucose. So for all intents and purposes they're the same thing once your body gets a hold of them.

I'm aware of this. However, I've seen some articles which explain that even this small difference is enough to cause problems—either that, or that it's something to do with how the fructose and glucose are connected. Or something; I'm afraid this type of chemistry isn't my strong suit.

And while we're on the topic, carbs are just lots of sugars linked together into a longer molecule. Heck, wood/cellulose is just lots of sugars linked together (in a form which is extremely difficult for animals to break down; ruminants do it by chewing it twice and digesting it 4 times, termites do it with the assistance of a special kind of bacteria in their gut). It is extremely difficult to avoid sugars in your diet even if you eat no simple or processed sugars. Bread is sugar. Rice is sugar. Noodles are sugar. Potatoes are sugar. So it's quite misleading to blame things on the "vast amounts of sugar" in processed foods. (Unless you're talking at the caloric level, and taking into account all forms of sugar like starches and carbohydrates.)

Now you're just oversimplifying beyond the point of reason. That's like saying because they're all made up of the same elements, we might as well just drink gasoline.

Our bodies treat sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) quite differently. Pretending otherwise because they're both examples of carbohydrates will get you laughed out of any biology class anywhere.

I suspect that's why the low-carb diet trumped the low-fat diet. Those on the low-carb diet were restricting their intake of sugar (in the form of carbs), while in the back of their minds they were conscious about avoiding too much fat. Those on the low-fat diet figured since they were avoiding fat, everything was ok so they piled on the carbs.

Or...maybe there's actually something different about a low-fat, high-carb diet and a low-carb, high-fat diet that convinces our bodies to store less energy as fat, and your attempts to rationalize away something that challenges your worldview are just that.

Dan Aris

Comment: Re:Diet is very important. (Score 1) 588

by danaris (#47807547) Attached to: Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

I'm not denying there are knock-on effects from eating certain foods. Satiety and insulin and all that stuff plays a part, certainly. But if you're having trouble measuring the number of calories in your food and it seems like there are more calories than there should be, it's because your measurements are off, not because the value of a calorie has changed from food to food. Stop underestimating your intake and overestimating your output.

You are also being overly simplistic about it.

Yes, obviously, one calorie of energy gained from an apple is equivalent to one calorie of energy gained from a chocolate bar.

But the point is, we don't eat food purely for the energy they give us, and health in general and weight gain in particular are governed by much more than the pure thermodynamics of the intake vs usage.

For one thing, maybe I can extract more calories from that apple than you can. And it's also known that eating certain types of food makes the body more likely to store energy as fat if they're eaten around the same time, regardless of how much energy is being expended. (More or less.)

So if you and I took identical meals, and ate them, and then performed identical exercise, there's a good chance that one of us would end up putting on more weight (or losing more weight) than the other. Because our body makeups and chemistries are different, our metabolisms are different, and our gut flora are different.

So yeah, if you want to be as stupidly pedantic as possible, one calorie is identical to every other calorie. But if you want to actually talk about something meaningful like health, different foods can be very different in the effects they will have on us, even if they have the exact same calorie count.

Dan Aris

Comment: Re:Diet is very important. (Score 1) 588

by danaris (#47807481) Attached to: Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Also, what the hell is a "hipster" diet? I think this is a big sign that people need to stop talking about "hipsters". Since when were "hipsters" known for being fat?

I've really come to believe that the word "hipster" doesn't mean anything anymore. It's just an adjective that you attach to things you don't like.

Don't look at me, it was his term ;-)

Dan Aris

Comment: Re:Diet is very important. (Score 1) 588

by danaris (#47807097) Attached to: Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

As to humans as a machine, I'm trying to separate what is healthy from what is psychologically going on in people's heads. They're different arguments that I'm not going to let you lump together.

You say that you can't sustain certain diets because psychologically you are compelled to break the diets when on them. Fine... that is a different argument then whether either diet is healthy.

You're welcome to argue that over there in your world of spherical cows in a vacuum; however, I live in the real world, where real humans have a very important psychological aspect that simply can't be ignored. Thus, a diet that might be, in theory, absolutely ideal, but which leaves anyone attempting to eat it feeling hungry and lousy all the time really isn't going to be useful.

I personally am able to eat carbs all the time and not over eat. This is largely because I have a different threshold for hunger. I eat when I get actually hungry.

Good for you. You're lucky. That doesn't mean that everyone is that lucky, or that people who aren't as lucky as you are lazy, or have no willpower, or are otherwise just not as good a person as you. It means that they didn't get as good a number in the genetic/metabolic lottery.

The main reason we do the 3 meal thing is because it structures our meals and syncs our social activities. If we lived together all the time and gathered food all the time then every minute we are awake would be a meal time. And at that point, it was. Over time we developed social patterns that have us eat in organized social meals. But our bodies don't need that. They just need a certain amount of calories per day.

No. That is exactly the fallacy that I have been trying to refute this whole time, and you seem to be simply ignoring it.

Our bodies don't "just need a certain amount of calories per day" (or week, or whatever time period). They need a certain amount of nutrients of the right types. Calories are important, yes, but they're not the be-all and end-all. We need proteins, and vitamins and minerals, or we'll develop all kinds of interesting diseases from malnutrition. We need a balanced diet.

It's not about how often one eats, or even how much one eats, though obviously those are important at a higher level. It's about what one eats when one does eat. And different people's bodies are different, in various ways and for various reasons, so there isn't one hard-and-fast rule "this is what you must eat, in these amounts, this frequently"—which is why you can cheerfully eat loads of carbs and I can't. (Well, I'd be cheerful temporarily, but it would catch up with me in the end ;-) )

Dan Aris

Comment: Re:Diet is very important. (Score 1) 588

by danaris (#47807011) Attached to: Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

It should be obvious that a calorie is not a calorie. When it's not even true for car engines (try pumping diesel into a gasoline car) we shouldn't be assuming it's true for human metabolism. Secondly the last I checked most people don't measure the excreted calories in excrement.

Hah! An excellent point, and one I hadn't even considered.

In any case, while I definitely agree with you, every time there's a story about nutrition, weight, or health in general, there's a large number of comments that express exactly that fallacy.

Dan Aris

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