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Comment: Re:Umm, why? (Score 1) 84

by sjames (#48619327) Attached to: Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?

But we have to ignore all of that because of what it implies our society and the living conditions of the junkies. We must resolutely hold the line. No 'facts' may deter us from the message that addiction is a moral failing and so the addict deserves his fate. Now, all rise and put your fingers in your ears and sing the new national anthem: "LA LA LA LA LA".

Comment: Re:Failed state policies (Score 2) 151

by phantomfive (#48619177) Attached to: In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

The Cuban people survived 55 years of near total trade embargo, with universal healthcare intact, and no one starving in the streets.

Cuba survived by getting huge payments from the USSR, then from Venezuela. I hope 'no one starving in the streets' isn't how you measure success these days.

As for me, the economics are irrelevant. I'd rather live in an impoverished country with the right to insult my president and point out problems, than live in a rich dictatorship without those rights.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 475

by ultranova (#48618211) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Unless they get employed doing something else.

Suppose you have 10 people and 10 jobs. One job is eliminated by technology. Now you have 10 people and 9 jobs. That 1 newly unemployed dude tries to get another job, but to do so he'll have to oucompete 1 of the remaining 9 employed people out of their job. So how will he compete? Why, he'll do the job for less money. So now we have 9 people with lower average wage, and 1 unemployed dude. This merry-go-round will then continue. Also, as wages fall so will the total buying power of the workforce, which creates further downward pressure.

Capitalism cannot handle a situation where labour is not the resource that limits production. It predates Industrial Revolution, almost collapsed as a result of it, and is heading back towards the cliffs now that true believers have managed to convince themselves that the fall of Soviet Russia means revolution is no longer possible and dismantled the compensating systems.

The only real question at this point is whether it'll collapse into a dystopia where the poor are kept down by brute force, or incorporate sufficient income redistribution to guarantee a middle-class minimum income. US is trapped to the former fate by the aftereffects of Cold War rhetoric, but Europe and Japan have hope. And China, of course, is a dystopia as is.

"Remaining jobs" need not decline and it's worth noting that they actually aren't declining at present.

According to the article they do. Also, when was the last time job market was good for the employees?

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 1) 145

by sjames (#48618161) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

Agreed, to actually be sure, the software needs to be at least verified by someone you trust. It would not be wise for that someone to be a telco. However, end-to-end has a specific meaning and Verizon's service isn't it.

As for the keys, you can identify the party through conversation. If you've never met, you would need a trusted introducer in a 3 way call to verify each of you to the other. Then transmit public keys around and read back the key fingerprints. In other words, use the PGP/GPG web of trust rather than a central authority.

From then on, you have the keys stored and so you can skip that part.

I do know very well that the company is not at all immune to government pressure. I never anywhere suggested otherwise. I suggested that claiming a thing that is untrue and legally cannot be true is immoral. A moral company simply wouldn't claim to offer end to end encryption.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 2) 475

by ultranova (#48616241) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Second thing, most examples given are low wages jobs, then the argument does not hold water if you pretend it is responsible for stagnation of the average wages, the average wages should go up if there is less people with minimum wages.

If you destroy a low-wage job, the workers who previously did it become unemployed, and their wage goes to zero. Also, there's more competition for the remaining jobs, thus even non-zero wages tend to fall.

Comment: Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (Score 5, Interesting) 143

by Tom (#48615431) Attached to: Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Second all of that from Germany.

Energy companies - privatized. Prices have gone up, service is still good mostly because of government regulations, the market is now largely dominated by less than 5 big energy companies. Only recently thanks to renewable energy have smaller, local players re-emerged.

Public transport - long distance privatized. Service down, delays up, lots of smaller stations have been closed and lines discontinued, government subsidizes the whole thing still.

Telecommunications - privatized. Looked like a success for many years, but now that the old monopolist has stopped being a dominant player (it wasn't broken down like AT&T), service is going down the drain and prices are secretly climbing (base fees are low, nobody dares being the first to raise them, but they're all adding all kinds of additional charges, reducing service for the base fee so you have to buy a higher contract for the same, etc.)

Pensions - being dismantled as we look. We had a great state pension system. It survived both world wars and managed to pay out pensions even when the rest of Germany was flat broke. Heck, even in the few years after WW2 when Germany didn't exist at all and it was just an occupied zone. Now the state pension system is being systematically dismantled by politics while private pension funds and insurances work hard to convince you that you absolutely need them or you'll be poor when you are old.

The examples go on and on and on. In the end, it is quite clear that what my old philosophy teacher in school said was right: capitalism, communism, fascism, extremism, islamism, doesn't matter, be aware of everything that ends with -ism.

The free market is a cute idea and it works great for trade. But don't make it a religion. Many human endeavours are not trade and not suitable to be treated like that. I hope we all agree that things like art and love fall into that category, so we should be open to at least discussing if health, transportation and communications might fall into it as well.

The same is true for communism. The idea that every is equal is great for politics, and a lot of what's wrong in the west today is caused by our hidden abolishing of the "one vote per citizen" rule by allowing campaign financing to dominate the results instead of votes. But again there are lots of areas where treating everyone the same is not the right approach. Education, science, sports and business are all places where it's good if people start out with equal chances, but as their talents and abilities emerge, they need to be treated differently. And planned economy has been pretty much proved to be a disaster, too.

In every other -ism you will always find at least one small grain of truth. Maybe even ISIS has a right idea in its idiology somewhere. The problem is always if you think you can explain the whole world by one truth, one interpretation, one approach.
But religion doesn't built space ships, and science doesn't write operas, and capitalism doesn't create families.

"Buy land. They've stopped making it." -- Mark Twain