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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re: even if you don't want applicances to be conn (Score 1) 171

It was about the IoT in general, rather than the networked fridges as they exist today on the market. The first cars sucked, and maybe the first IoT fridges don't offer much plus either. Cars were an ultimately accepted invention, because they provided what a lot of people want: reliable individual mobility without horseshit and having to keep large animals. Even more so, networked objects are destined to be part of people's life, because the marginal cost of sensors, pattern recognition and being networked approaches zero, but there's bound to be applications, possibly including monitoring and improving the domestic segment of the foodchain, that bring benefit.

Comment: Re:"Leak". Yeah. Sure. (Score 1) 396

> Anyway, the EU seems perfectly happy to subsidise basket case economies like greece , italy and spain not to mention the waste of space eastern european countries that contribute fuck all apart from their citizens who just move to the west and undercut the local wage rates, so whats the problem?

Don't mix up the economic issues of South Europe with that of Eastern Europe. Most countries in Eastern Europe have industrious, striving populations that, after shedding the Socialism, have been working on improving their economy. It's pretty hard to catch up after many decades of oppression, which was preceded by hundreds of years of other hardship. For example, this part of Europe helped decelerate and ultimately stop and reverse the advancement of the Ottoman Empire. History here was a bit less fortunate. By the way, these countries combined make up a pretty large market, in the region of 100m or more people. Products made all over Europe, incl. Germany and France are prevalent here, and many firms of Western origin win large infrastructure projects, or have privatised, at low cost and some baksish to the former communist officials, most of the industry, banks and utilities.

It's impossible to quickly create income, let alone wealth, and political stability and a large, common market is in the interest of all, therefore Eastern Europe benefits from crucial, yet fairly modest cohesion funds. For example, Hungary gets a little over €2bn a year, spent mostly towards large infrastructure projects.

It is for this reason I find it appalling to compare such funds to those that have been moved and sacrificed for the economies of the Periphery, first and foremost, Greece, but also the rest of the PIGS states. Greece, Portugal and Ireland are similar to Hungary in size and population, and, rather than the above mentioned couple of Bn per year, suddenly hundreds and thousands of billions of Euro were thrown on the fire.

Hungary is almost a worst-case country where the irresponsible Socialist government indebted the country in the 2000s just to retain their power (assisted in doing so by Western financial institutions...), and Hungary still stood up, there was no special bailout during the global mortgage lending crisis or the Greek crisis. But countries where such indebtment didn't happen, e.g. Poland, Slovakia, Romania, have continued to grow even during the period the rest of Europe stagnated. Hungary also rejoined the growth club last year.

So it's a bit of an insult to liken the much needed and useful trickle of funds towards EE countries with the high caliber financial support for the already relatively wealthy and comfortable, massively indebted Southern periphery. Let's not forget that East Germany's revival costed West Germany about €2000Bn, and similar sized Hungary received about €40Bn in cohesion funds.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 396

> > Start with kicking out Greece. It's a money pit.

> Why do you believe this? What have you been told about Greece, and its current economy?

I wasn't the GP but it's a bit more complex than this. There's no way Greece can finance the interest on its debt, let alone refinance it, not to mention reduce the debt level. So despite your otherwise legit list, those points are irrelevant, in particular, because they aren't mobilised to solve the crisis (selling islands etc.).

So the only option left for Greece to not default is if Europe pours more money into it. Given the debt level, and given that Greece has already reneged on past commitments, and indeed, any past commitments can be undone by a next government any time, the sentiment is that, even if Greek politicians were the most constructive, Europe would throw good money after bad money like it's been doing.

Now, the Greek politicians aren't even that constructive.

I ascribe this to the fact that reneging on the loans was what got them in power, rather than that they truly want a solution where Greece would eventually repay, with the slight technical difficulty that they'd only do so if it were sustainable, which unfortunately it isn't. Japan and maybe the USA can live with public debt equaling 200% of the GDP but Greece can't.

So, given the past annullments of agreements; the stance of the current gov't; the amount of debt; the political situation in Greece; I think it's fair to characterise Greece as a money pit as the GP did, because it needs the money; can't repay; and the incremental money won't solve the problem.

If the EU denies throwing money in this pit, then almost automatically, either of two things happen: Greece collapses and can't sustain using the Euro; prints its own money, slides into disarray and maybe an extreme right wing government; capital and production facilities flee; the economy becomes defunct; the other, more remote possibility is that Russia buys Greece. Either way, Greece in effect, stops being part of the European integration, won't even be able to control its borders.

So, if the EU denies further funds towards the money pit, then Greece is de facto out, even if it's not an active way of kicking it out, just a consequence that's however known in advance.

I believe it's the interest of Greece and the EU alike to let go of the pretense and hypocrisy. Iceland defaulted on the mortgage loans of its population, and they're fine. Poland defaulted around 1990 and Hungary was commended for _not_ doing so. In the short term, Hungary benefited from the stability; in the long term, they still have much lower debt levels, and have surpassed Hungary. The interest is mutual: I don't want my fellow taxpayers to throw good money after bad; I don't want my Greek friends to have to be indebted for half a millennium.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 396

> We should just default and let the ECB and the other EU Nations absorb the debt we have incurred over the years

This must have been pretty much Greece's attitude if not intention from the get go, cheating and then falling on cushions of money that aren't yours. In the meantime, so many Greek people are incredibly rich, and lots of others have enjoyed a welfare state with modest work.

Basically, Greece owes around €400Bn (and there's an ELA fund of €70Bn) and by now, all of it came from European institutions and the IMF. Greece will default on this as you like. In the meantime, cohesion funds for similar-sized, newer EU members are around €2Bn per year, spent on infrastructure, new roads etc. in some part from companies of donor EU members, i.e. not all money stays and it's not spent on state welfare or debt service.

An EU that poured so much into a single country, while not really assisting new members will face the consequences. A former Socialist gov't in Hungary indebted the country somewhat, and the GDP sank in 2009 - no wonder that the next government was Centre Right, and no wonder that now the Socialists are in shambles due to the economic fallout and the EU's lack of handling it (in fact, Brussels tried to detract the new government where it could), and the second largest political force by now is an extreme right party, riding on the wave of dissent, like the nazis in Greece, I guess. It's like an infection; if Europe leaves issues on its periphery untreated, then it'll cause trouble for the entire body.

Europe stupidly focused on saving a disingenous, opportunistic Greece with the attitude you give example of, giving the country so much money it can't repay even if it wanted to. Whereas there are other problem zone, much larger than Greece, that weren't attended to, and governments will become pro Russia or fascists.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 396

It's an island, separated by what, a channel that was already crossed by human powered flight; Channel swimming is a sport; and there's even ground transportation slightly underneath. More importantly, the Channel is about three minutes of airtime with a modern fighter jet, and much less with a ballistic missile. Paris and some other European capitals are closer to London than many of UK's other cities, not to mention Northern Ireland, which is separated by much more sea, and the former colonies, the US etc.

Also, it feels like there is distance. But if you look at it from Russia's vantage point, Europe is like a weird, colorful peninsula, an appendix on the body of the Eurasian behemoth. Admittedly you cross over a lot of countries (as yet) when you fly from Moscow to Paris. But it's a shorter, and possibly more frequent flight, than to Siberia.

That the UK feels independent because of some psychological factor is fair enough, but 'realpolitik' should utilise some common sense and analysis, and from that viewpoint, the feeling that the UK is special, or not on the continent, etc. are ridiculous notions. Nah, we're just a bunch of quarrelling tiny nations that watch as the World go by and we become a tourist destination and service centre, mostly, for Russian oligarchs, oil sheiks and tourists from Japan and China. I.e. a reservatum and open-air museum.

Comment: Re: Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 396

Changing borders of other countries, threatening the Baltic states, flying armed all over Europe while shooting down passenger jets on every single opportunity, piece or war? Putin even offered some thinly veiled warning to the (I guess, non-voluntary) ass-licker Hungarian government: http://tass.ru/en/economy/7930...
Russia sponsors much of the right wing movements, from Eastern Europe, through Le Pen's party. I don't know, what's the deal with UKIP, and did Russia support the Scottish separation?
Nah, not much aggressiveness. Russian leadership is shortsighted enough to quarrel with Europe and the US while China will eat their (and everyone's) lunch, and Islam is threatening Europe both through warfare and the demographic processes of former colonialist countries.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 396

Makes sense, but the entire thing is so funny, with lots of small countries in Europe, forming innumerable quilt patchworks in all permutations. There are very few countries that meet all the following criteria: EU member; uses the Euro; member of the NATO.

Notably missing from the 'full' integration are some of the financially most successful European countries, e.g. Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Denmark.

No wonder Russia feels comfortable doing what it wants on the perifery, and will continue to shift map and influence boundaries as it wants. China also looms large farther afield. But let's live with this hodgepodge of small individual countries and find excuses for the avoidance of solidarity, integration and cohesion. Meanwhile, let's get really scared by the prospect of the Grexit, and pour more money on that 11 million people in two years than the EU cohesion funds for Eastern Europe, with 10x as many people, slowly meted out over decades.

Heck, if it's a big loss to lose one Euro member and we want more successful Eastern EU members, then instead of spending further hundreds of billions on Greece, why not spend one easy payment of €16Bn (per country) on any of the newer EU members to help them to (sustainably) join. Instead, the Russians fill the power vacuum like there's no tomorrow, and already granted a €10Bn loan for a Russian power plant constrution in Hungary.

If Eastern Europe falls to the Russians, and the Western EU members continue the navel-gazing, then next step, the UK will be reduced to England and will enjoy, with the Danish people, the sight of armed Russian patrol flights. Ah, one more thing, let's make it difficult for Europeans to migrate to the UK for the heck of it, like for short term political posturing, it's a pain that something offsets the demographic process that was going to cause an Islamic and Asian majority in the largest UK cities in a few decades.

Comment: Re: even if you don't want applicances to be conne (Score 1) 171

The current car isn't much like the first self-powered versions. But even larger is the difference between the preexisting society and that which was shaped by the ubiquitous car. So the analogy isn't merely that it's an invention, but that it's an invention that in some form, sooner or later, is guaranteed to necome commonplace, widespread and yet again transformative to society, yet rejected by some of the early evaluators.

Comment: Re:I knew it (Score 1) 171

On the spot :-) However sometimes I wonder what would be possible on some ancient hardware, if we used leading edge optimisations and CS advances. For example, would it be possible to create a modern windowing OS on some old platform, or create a generation-defying game for the PlayStation 2? It would be an interesting metric of how much CS has improved along the performance or compactness axis, as separated from the hardware improvement. While the ever worsening code bloat could be pointed out, a lot of relevant advances happened: entirely new or much better compression facilities (H.265), more sophisticated compilers and more optimizable (updates of) languages. It would also be possible to apply exhaustive or other automated searches for ideal code sequencing, because the legacy hardware could be easily emulated at 1000x the speed, thousands in parallel.

Comment: Re:even if you don't want applicances to be connec (Score 2) 171

I don't buy into this Internal Combustion Engine gimmick. I looked at a self-powered vehicle last time I was in the market. It seemed to add more cost, complexity and potential reliability issues for no real gain. Instead I got a regular stagecoach. Still transports people and goods, and I never have the administration overhead of having to manage it.

My computer can beat up your computer. - Karl Lehenbauer

Working...