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Comment: It's the same problem no matter who you blame. (Score 1) 200

by stealth.c (#48608877) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower
Whether you want to blame NASA bureaucrats for covering their asses or Congresscritters for their warped priorities, this failure can be explained the same way. Government and its agencies are total strangers to the economic incentives of profit and loss. The only profits and losses they directly experience are the rise and fall of their bureaucratic clout. As a result, success and failure are defined on completely different terms versus a private endeavor. For an operation like SpaceX, success is getting the customer into space with the greatest practical efficiency. For NASA, success is whatever curries favor with the people in Congress deciding next year's budget. Congressmen don't care about what goes into space or how. They care that federal money gets back to their clients at home. The bickering in this thread over whether to blame NASA leadership or Congress misses the larger point: Both are culpable because of the incentives they operate under. This is just the economics of nationalized space exploration taking its inevitable course.

Comment: I would say no (Score 1) 167

by stealth.c (#48513649) Attached to: Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?
The first hurdle is the Western obsession with "objective" reporting. No such thing exists. But in the pursuit of the appearance of objectivity, you get slanted news constantly disguising itself as authoritative truth. Sometimes you get the same phenomenon on Wikipedia but at least there, interpretation of data is kept to a minimum. There is so much to report on, and so much information to curate, one has to employ a particular world view to decide what part of the story is important to tell. When it comes to news, there is no way to avoid ideological siloing. A single 'wikipedia of news" is not possible, but maybe several of them, each devoted to a certain way of understanding events, is possible.

Comment: Reminds me of the movie Brazil (Score 1) 169

by stealth.c (#48418775) Attached to: City of Toronto Files Court Injunction Against Uber
...and the crime of unlicensed duct work. People are taking money in exchange for giving car rides. Look, if the Toronto city government is willing to let any old moron DRIVE a car (and they are), I think those same people can be trusted to delegate to a hired driver without risking a carpocalypse.

Comment: Re:How did your senator vote? (Score 1) 445

by stealth.c (#48418675) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power
I'm afraid the Republican Party has always been the party of empire. Recall that the first Republican President waged the country's bloodiest war to prevent the central government's domain from shrinking. The war turned a federation of sovereign states into a compulsory chain of provinces. There is no "smaller government" party in the US, because Americans would never vote for one.

Comment: Then Bill Gates is Wrong (Score 1) 839

by stealth.c (#48160683) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right
He was wrong on IP back in the 1970s and he's wrong on economics now. Piketty didn't actually contribute much to economic understanding with his book, but he did contribute a verbose defense of the same redistributism that has failed over and over again. Piketty is influenced greatly by Marx and Marxists, leaving out entirely the contributions of classical liberal economists like Bawerk, Menger and Mises who together have provided a deep understanding of the necessary process of capital accumulation, and private property rights. If one is to advance a theory that capital needs to be expropriated and redistributed by state action, one must be able to refute those theories, which Piketty simply fails to acknowledge.

Comment: Forking, not audits, is the reason openness works (Score 3, Interesting) 265

by stealth.c (#48143317) Attached to: Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism
The Open Source approach has worked so well because people are at complete liberty to build on existing ideas and existing work, *not* because users are supposed to audit the code they're running. Almost no one does that, but a few do, and sometimes they decide to take what does work and throw out what doesn't. In FLOSS this can happen faster and with greater frequency than with IP-encumbered code. Whether you have faith in it or not, it works.

The herd instinct among economists makes sheep look like independent thinkers.