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Comment Re:health and for-profit solutions cannot coexist (Score 1) 305

Hmm.. No.. That is one of the primary motivators that gets new drugs developed. If you don't want these new drugs, don't buy them. However, don't interfere with my rights to buy them by placing regulations on business that stifles innovation so NO ONE can have the drug because it was never developed. Do you really want Congress deciding which drugs will be developed and which ones won't? If you think it's expensive to buy drugs, try buying a member of Congress sometime (and, usually, even if you were successful, you would be dead before the drug you bribed them to approve research on would actually be available).

Maybe Apple shouldn't be allowed to advertise either, or maybe all cell phones should be designed and provided by the government? After all, cell phones are considered critical enough that in the U.S. that subsidies/discounts are available through one or more government programs so poor people can afford that service. Surely Apple should not be allowed to drive the price of cell phones up by advertising and then having to recoup their advertising cost.

Comment Re:Fundamental right????? (Score 1) 188

And that's why I specifically mentioned the U.S. in my comment. Many Americans are quite ignorant about the U.S. Constitution and some vaguely recall hearing that Post Offices and Postal Roads are mentioned and make the mistake of believing there is some sort of constitutional requirement that such entities exist when in fact it's no different than wars -- Congress has the right to declare war, however they have no obligation to ever declare war and they are not in violation of the U.S. Constitution any time there is not an active declared war. I was merely attempting to avoid confusion and clarify (esp. since so many readers on /. appear to be Americans).

It's worth noting as well that the U.S. Constitution was not intended by those who enacted it to be a mere suggestion as to what the Federal Government was allowed to do -- it was strictly limiting the Federal Government's powers (and, if it had not done so, it would never have been ratified). Thus, just because it might be "good policy" or "helpful to the average citizen" by reducing violent and property crimes, the Federal Government can't require every resident to wear a body camera at all times which transmits continuously to Federal law enforcement agencies. Although, for what it's worth, under the 'flexibility' espoused by some who support a 'living constitution', the Interstate Commerce Clause could easily support such a move and, since it's not a 'search', there's no problem with the Fourth Amendment and since there's no 'right to privacy' mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution there's no Constitutional barrier there - beyond, of course, the fact that there's nothing in the Constitution that permits the Federal Government to implement such a requirement.

And, yes, the interstate highway system is pretty questionable Constitutionally as it far exceeded what was necessary to transport mail [see Article I, Section 8, Clause 7] nor is it a mere regulation of commerce [see Article I, Section 8, Clause 3]. Note, although, that Congress would be within their Constitutional bounds to, for example, pass a law that no state could charge a toll, tax, tarrif or require any other form of consideration in exchange for an out of state vehicle involved in commerce to use that state's roads.

Comment Re:Fundamental right????? (Score 0) 188

It's worth pointing out that in the U.S. there is absolutely no requirement in the Constitution for a postal service. Congress is merely empowered to establish one if they choose to - they can also decide to close it down at any time or limit its scope/reach or charge delivery addresses in sparsely populated areas a 'convenience fee' for home deliver or whatever.

Had the Constitution not mentioned that Congress was empowered to establish a Post Office and Postal Roads if they saw fit, they would have been unable to do so. As the Tenth Amendment makes clear if there were any doubt, the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Comment Re:Data cap scam (Score 1) 264

That would be your choice. However, if you are not a high volume user, it might cost you less than you are paying now.

Some people don't use that much data but are busy people and want fast response - these people might pay a bit more for a high speed connection but pay little for data. If data usage were charged based on time of day metering, a high speed connection might not cost any more than a lower speed one anyway.

Alternate pricing schemes of course will always cost some people more money and some people less money. However, paying for what you use may decrease costs overall -- when you're paying by the GB, you might shut off the streaming video when you really are not watching it and everybody wins (you pay less, the ISP delays the cost of upgrades for a while etc) or you might decide that cron job that downloads every new distro automatically as it becomes available really doesn't make sense anymore because 95% of them you never use for anything.

Comment Re:Data cap scam (Score 1) 264

Really, ISPs should go to utility pricing. A fixed per period charge (covering service, support, and some portion of infrastructure that exists for minimal service level) and a per GB charge (perhaps cheaper during low use times if that keeps the ISPs costs down). Use what you want, pay for what you use. For some reason, people seem to have a problem with this model when it comes to Internet but accept it in almost every other context - weird.

Comment Re:Stupid people getting a stupid certification (Score 1) 241

After a couple years of experience, here is how I've seen it play out...

There's a problem to be solved. Self study guy who never bothered to study algorithms (the usual case for the majority of self study guys) cobbles up a solution from off the shelf parts that 'works' most of the time, but doesn't scale well. Degree guy may pick off the shelf parts also, but takes into account memory usage, CPU requirements etc and either picks different parts or alters the parts he picks and his solution works and DOES scale. First guy's solution ends up needing to be redone during alpha or beta, second guy's solution is still running untouched and unnoticed ten years later.

Of course anyone can read up on algorithms -- but most self study types that I've run across haven't done a very good job of that (in many cases, their distaste or inability for such "book learning" is what resulted in them making a decision not to go to pursue a degree). There certainly are exceptions -- esp. with the generation that is now mostly retired because they are over 65 (there were few computer science/engineering curricula available to them when they were 17).

The problem is that when you have a particular problem to solve, it's too late to finally take an interest in algorithms and begin to read up on them. Once someone has a good grounding in algorithms, they refresh their memory and/or look at new research specific to the particular problem at hand with relatively little effort because they already understand the basics and the terminology used to discuss the topic. Sure, you CAN read up on liver cancer when you get it and self-treat, but few people without a grounding in medicine can fully understand the established and evolving research in the area to make intelligent decisions on a treatment path - and that includes people who were fully capable of becoming doctors had they chosen to.

I've interviewed some self-taught developers and it's usually pretty obvious that they are -- even though I don't generally ask questions requiring much "theory" in such interviews. I don't recall ever making an offer to one.

Comment Re:Stupid people getting a stupid certification (Score 4, Insightful) 241

Although it's likely that if you ask both of these developers to develop an efficient algorithm/data structure to do something novel, the one with the traditional four year degree is more likely to come up with a better solution -- and that will likely remain true for the remainder of their careers. The four year degree developer will likely be "caught up" with the self-taught one (given the same base intellectual capabilities of course) within two years and then always be ahead.

There are, of course, exceptions.

Comment Re:Cultural? (Score 2) 479

Managers should have been very suspicious how VW could get by without Urea Injection when competitors seemed to need it. Even if it wasn't an intentional "defeat" system, there should have been suspicion there was some sort of bug that needed fixing.

It sounds like, at best, management was very happy to willfully ignore the maxim that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" hence management is certainly to blame for poor judgement (through many levels of management).

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 182

I don't recall The Origin of Species speculating much about how humans can modify the environment to compensate for their very limited ability to evolve quickly and how long that strategy would be viable. As I recall, it focused on organisms evolving to adapt to the environment rather than some select organisms figuring out how to change the environment to adapt to that organism's feeble evolutionary abilities.

My money is on single celled organisms being around long after humans are gone no matter how we attempt to delay or prevent that outcome. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to collect on that bet (if I'm right, by definition neither I nor any heirs will be around to collect and neither the person I made the bet with or their heirs will be around to pay off).

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 182


I'm just someone who understands something about science, including evolution, and who isn't blinded by a notion that I'm somehow special because some book (choose one from the religious institution of your choice) purports to claim that humans are somehow unique from ants, spiders, beavers, sea gulls, sloths, lizards and the like in some way beyond simple differentiating attributes that evolution has yielded. And, I'm intelligent enough to be completely comfortable and unalarmed by that reality.

If humans think it will somehow benefit the universe (perhaps because of a belief that Earth is only celestial body in the universe that has any form of meaningful life?) to preserve life beyond the natural extinction of humans on Earth, it probably makes little sense to send humans out to distant reaches of the solar system, let alone beyond. It likely makes much more sense to spread a diverse selection of "lower" forms (single celled probably) of life to as many celestial bodies throughout the universe as often as we can. Then, hope that evolution causes a species to survive, prosper and advance just as happened on Earth. Humans are fragile and require complex and expensive support systems in foreign environments. Society is also unwilling to put humans at great risk in such endeavors and that adds immensely to the cost. Single celled life forms share none of these problems. Humans evolve so slowly that they will require complex support systems for, probably, many hundreds of thousands of years or more before they could hope to evolve to live w/o such support systems - and it's likely that would never happen as those systems would eventually fail or the few humans who could be supported by them would die for other reasons such as an epidemic.

Single celled organisms are much better equipped to evolve quickly and adapt to the surrounding environment and, in the process, eventually end up with self sustaining life (perhaps beyond current human intelligence) at distant locations in the universe (although, that probably already exists -- in which case the whole discussion is a waste of time as our efforts are not needed in this endeavour).

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 2) 182

I'm just being realistic.

In my view, it's extremely likely that there are many intelligent "species" (by some definition of species/life) who are "superior" (obviously a subjective evaluation) to humans elsewhere in the universe. Although, there's no realistic chance that humans living today (or perhaps ever) will encounter them because the search space is so large and it's entirely possible that those species see no reason to look for us. Humans, as a species, are very important on Earth (from a selfish standpoint as well as because we are the apex species on Earth with the unique ability to consciously make measurable, albeit modest in a geological scale, alterations to the Earth). However, I think humans, as a species or as an individual, are very likely insignificant in the universe as a whole.

Seriously, does anyone believe that humans will be around in 100 billion years or that they are likely to disappear in the next 10,000 years (over 300 generations from now)? In fact, I am much more interested in spending resources to ameliorate the human condition today and in the next few hundred years -- even if it were to slightly increase the risk of accelerating the extinction of the species (since that's going to happen anyway). For example, my goal isn't to create as many humans as possible if they are to live an uncomfortable life -- better to have 1 billion content and fulfilled people on Earth than 10 billion unhappy, starving, non-productive, and unfulfilled people on the planet.

(As you probably could guess, I'm an atheist so I don't attach any scientific importance to conflicting fairy tales promoted by various religions.)

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 4, Interesting) 182

One has to weigh the cost of preventing something from happening vs. the benefit of preventing it.

Humans will obviously become extinct on Earth at some point. We are a young species and we adapt slowly. It takes us over 10 years to reach sexual maturity, we have few births per woman/year, each member of the species requires substantial resources which severely limits the number of humans that can be on the Earth at any one point in time. This all leaves comparatively few opportunities for genetic alterations as opposed to, say, cockroaches. To make matters worse (although, as civilization declines, this will no longer happen so it's a temporary impediment), we interfere with natural selection via medical procedures and social programs so resources are consumed on "survival of the weakest" rather than on "promoting the strongest".

So, it's only useful to consider the chances of a catastrophic asteroid strike before we become extinct via other mechanisms. An asteroid strike 100 million years from now is completely irrelevant to humans as there will be no humans to experience it (or to maintain the infrastructure to prevent it). More adaptable species will survive it anyway.

Not as relevant to this specific case, but to be considered in discussions about extinction of the human species in general. Extinction of the human species is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to humans (esp. since it's going to happen anyway). If the cost of delaying human extinction by N years is so high that all humans live in substantially less "comfort" for the remaining M years of human existence and N << M, it's likely incurring the cost of delaying extinction makes no sense (esp. to someone whose lifespan is much, much less than M or N).

Its analogous to, hypothetically, offering a healthy 30 year old two options. The first option is eating a distasteful, but extremely healthy, calorie restricted diet which will leave them feeling weak all the time but they will live, on the average, to be 87 years old. The second option is to eat pretty much whatever they want to enjoy and maintain a caloric count that does not interfere with their daily life or motivation or pleasure but they will live, on the average, to be only 86.75 years. A rational person would, I think, choose to live in comfort for their remaining 56.75 years rather than to live another three months but at the cost of being in discomfort and too weak to do much for their remaining 57 years.

Comment Re:Don't we (the US) already have that... (Score 1) 1291

Just significantly reduce the benefit for every minor child someone already has.

If DNA tests later show that a recipient failed to report a child, they are immediately cut off completely, forever ineligible for the program, and required to pay back every penny they received (of course, in practice, the latter would likely be hard to collect).

Anyone who 'turns in' someone who is/has accepted the offer and is disqualified for lying about not having children gets 50% of what the liar would have, based on actuarial stats, received. Lots of mothers in some cultures would suddenly have much improved memories regarding who each of their kid's father's was!

Comment Re:How is this paid for? (Score 1) 1291

The linked site promotes a scheme where every adult gets the basic income. It doesn't propose 'need based' criteria so your 33% assumption is wrong. Only about 23% of the American population is under 18 so you should be using a number of 77%.

Basic Income Action is a new national organization dedicated to winning a basic income for every American. A basic income is money provided to every adult -- enough to cover basic needs, independent of a job, with everyone getting the same amount. Imagine a world where everyone has enough money to make ends meet, as a human right.

(BTW, before criticizing others for not reading the articles, you might want to read them yourself).

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."