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Comment Re:Labor reduction (Score 1) 85

What good is $1/lb rice over $3/lb rice when we have to spend an extra $8/lb to cover the social welfare costs so the farmers who formally grew the rice can afford to purchase that rice to feed their family?

You're making a false dichotomy. Go back to colonial America--yes, that recent--and even England had no notable welfare system. England implemented old-age pensions and unemployment insurance before the United States, and unemployment insurance was hotly debated because of expense--with people citing old-age pensions as having worked out fine in support; now unemployment insurance is ... a tiny, tiny thing. Why do you think that is?

Our social welfare systems in America cost 1.5% of taxed AGI back in 1950--including social security. Back in 1790, such social welfare systems would have bankrupt America--not required 30% of our taxable money, but required 500% of our taxable money. That 1% income tax they levied in 1820 covered some extremely minor functions of government on a small body of people, without the costs of things like communications infrastructure, space-age military, interstate highways, ICBM launch silos, nuclear submarine programs, or military satellite systems. America's navy wasn't England's; wooden ships were expensive, but we relied on militia men and a standing army rather than infinite sea power, since well-armed galleons wouldn't stop invasion from our two fucking huge borders. A standing militia is cheap.

The fact is these systems of $1/lb rice over $3/lb rice have made enough excessive wealth for us to actually implement those social welfare programs and still come out richer. We were once a nation--once a world--of blacksmiths and farmers, with the blacksmiths mostly supporting the farmers with plows and scythes; now farmers are 0.25% of our population. We're reaching a point where our current-model welfare system--the social programs system--is growing out of control in cost, while minimum wage--a good system for the 1900s--is actually threatening to undermine the economy; and, at this point, we can implement a Citizen's Dividend system which will continuously reduce its minimum operating cost (I argue, as a matter of policy, to lock the financing sources and just let the minimum standard of living grow as our nation becomes more wealthy), eliminating both problems and completely ending homelessness and hunger forever.

That's what cheaper rice gets you. It's what every step in history has been: cheaper metal products (blacksmiths go away), automatic elevators (bellhops go away), more food from less land (lots of farmers go away), advanced low-cost materials like plastic (shipping costs drop because fuel needs go down, manufacturing labor drops, and lots of people in many sectors need new jobs), and so forth have steadily cut down the price of a T-shirt from $4,000 (479 labor-hours at $8.25/hr minimum wage, a la 1820, before the power loom entered wide deployment) to $15 (8.6 hours at $1.73/hr) and moved the labor elsewhere. That labor, moved elsewhere, does other things: we still have t-shirts, but we also have rockets that go to the moon, and social programs that keep people from starving.

Comment Re:Laughable (Score 2) 111

any western government (not the US) who is trying to 'shake down' google or FB gets my 100% blessing in anything they do to reduce the force, power and evilness of both of those companies.

anything that causes either of those companies PAIN is a good thing in my, uhm, 'book'.

corporations are evil and the biggest ones have the most evilness to them. anything that knocks down the evil corps even a little is a Good Thing(tm).

Comment Re:Hubris and Self-Interest (Score 1) 210

If you actually have a problem that decomposes nicely into lots of little, neatly contained, problems it might work really well. It's just that if you have that, you are among the blessed and probably don't need any fancy consultants in order to do just fine. You'd need somebody who is actively capable of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory to screw it up.

The sticking point is whether or not snake oil can dissolve seemingly insoluble problems into lots of little, neatly contained, problems.

Comment Re:Not a hard and fast rule... (Score 3, Interesting) 210

I don't know how broadly it can be applied(if it in fact works as well as they claim at all); but it would appear that the whole point of these 'microservices' is to produce smaller 'projects' so that you have more room to scale before complexity eats you alive. It's not so much a disproof of the 'mythical man-month'; but an adaptation to cope with it.

Getting purely linear scaling without some sort of zero-latency hive mind is unlikely to be possible; but it seems fairly obvious that the amount of overhead you incur by adding 20 extra people to a five man project is going to be rather higher than adding a second person to a one man project(though the jump between 1 person and 2 people might actually be pretty big, if helpful in terms of producing documentation that somebody other than the 1 person understands). If you can break your projects down into smaller pieces, with complexity better contained, and well defined interaction between the pieces, you have teams small enough that you might actually be able to make them faster by making them somewhat larger.

If your project is already a screaming heap of interlocking complexity, there simply isn't as much work that can be done in parallel. Aside from people stepping on each other's toes, there will just be a lot of "Part X can't be done until the guy doing Part Y finishes".

Not so terribly different(if likely to be even less predictable because humans are involved) than deciding how a problem will scale if you throw more computers at it. If your problem is actually a large number of mostly unrelated problems, it'll scale nearly perfectly. If your problem consists of lots of somewhat interconnected problems it will scale; but demands on interconnect will become increasingly expensive. If it's a purely serial problem, and each step depends on the prior step, it may not scale at all.

Comment Re:If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 1) 179

Note that mincabs are less strictly regulated than black cabs, but their prices are regulated, as are various other things (insurance that they must carry, the registration of their vehicles, requirement that the vehicles carry a taxi registration license plate, and so on). Uber is ignoring all of this regulation.

Comment Re:Monopoly on what exactly (Score 4, Informative) 179

Just saying "legal monopoly" doesn't mean much without details.

Licensed black cabs are the only vehicles that are allowed to be flagged down for in London. They're governed by Hackney Carriage laws in the UK[1] and also by some London-specific laws. Getting a license is relatively cheap (no medallion system), but does require passing a test that checks that has questions like 'what is the fastest route from A to B, assuming that it is rush hour and road X has road works?' There are 'mystery shoppers' who audit the taxi system: they flag down black cabs and take rides and, if the driver does not take the most direct route then they can lose their license. The mystery shoppers have varying ethnicities and manners of dress, and refusing to carry one will also result in a loss of the license. Black Cab drivers all know that if they break the regulations requiring them to carry anyone or try to scam a customer, then there's a chance that the customer that they're scamming may have the power to take their license on the spot.

The distinction between taxi and hackney carriage is increasingly irrelevant. I can't flag down a car owned by Generic Taxi Company #47 that's waiting near where I'm standing, but I can call the telephone number printed on the side from my mobile and have the dispatcher tell me that the car next to me is now assigned to me, and then get in. Before mobile phones were widespread, it was very different - you could only call that kind of taxi if you were near a landline (or used a public call box, which added a fairly significant amount to the cost for shortish trips). Uber and other taxi apps are the next step in this. It's now more convenient to press a couple of buttons on the phone than to flag down a passing cab, but the taxi that you get is not regulated in the same way. Uber attempts to claim that their reputation system and pricing model means that they don't need government regulation.

[1] This has caused some confusion in previous discussions: In the UK, legally speaking, a vehicle that can pick up people who flag them down on the street is called a hackney carriage, any vehicle that carries people for money is a taxi. In common usage, taxi is used for all categories.

Comment Re:None of the people I know that Like this Show.. (Score 2) 313

I don't see that. Black face is intensely offensive. Big Bang Theory only insults people without a sense of humor who can't laugh at themselves

Blackface is offensive because it insults black people be reinforcing stereotypes that are not really true outside of prejudiced perception. The big bang theory, in contrast, insults geeks by reinforcing stereotypes that are not really true outside of a prejudiced perception. It's therefore completely different and not offensive.

Comment Re:The movie was good because the book was short. (Score 1) 220

If you want to keep "doing the math" and if you want to be called "hard sci fi", you need to do the math right. You can't say that because you've got 50 liters of oxygen that you're going to get 100 liters of water because O2 + 2 H2 = 2 H2O. Yet Weir does exactly that, over and over and over again, mixing up moles, liters, and kilograms. One of dozens of categories of huge fundamental science mistakes that he keeps repeating.

Comment Blaming KKKorporations (Score 0) 172

Unless you're a corporate "person" in which case it most certainly IS a magic purse.

Cute. "KKKorporations sit there in their... in their KKKorporation buildings, and... and, and see, they're all KKKorporation-y... and they make money."

Nice try switching the conversation to "corporations", but the truth is, most Americans now receive government benefits of some kind. You and your kind may think, this is marvellous, but the situation does not benefit the country — the primary beneficiaries are the vast body of government employees paid for confiscating the monies (the IRS) and handing some of it out...

Comment Re: Expect drama (Score 1) 159

Incidentally, just to head off this objection: GGers managed to dig up a video of Anita Sarkeesian saying that she didn't like modern warfare-type shooters, and somehow spun this into an "admission" that she wasn't really a gamer.

FWIW, I don't like the endless parade of Battlecall: Field of Duty clones either.

Comment Re:Which Side Fought Against Disclosure, Again? (Score 1) 159

What are you specifically trying to communicate with that label?

As I explained in that last sentence (which you may have missed), I am trying to communicate the fact that as an outsider (to both sides), I can't tell who is "in" Gamergate and who is "out". The only piece of information I have is who uses the hashtag, and literally anyone can use that. Even among the high-profile people who are commonly associated with the movement, it's often hard to tell if they're in or out (e.g. Aurini).

The reason why "Gamergate fanboy" is because there are more of those than there are drive-by trolls, which is the only sane alternative. But I do concede that drive-by trolls exist. (The usually-posited alternative, that of "false flag" operations, is quite frankly off the deep end, and most mainstream Gamergaters wisely don't engage in that particular piece of projection.)

On the other side it's a little easier to tell who's "in" in many cases, because if someone is a target of Gamergate, they're almost certainly "in".

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle