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Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 127

by usuallylost (#48554679) Attached to: Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality

The article makes it sound like the various groups are mostly lining up on the side that donates to them. So groups that are supported by Comcast, and the other ISPs, are against title II regulation and those that are supported content providers, such as Google and Facebook, are for it. At the very least that creates the appearance that their positions might be for sale. Though it is possible that they just solicited companies they agree with for donations. Which of those you believe is going to depend upon your opinion of the people involved and both could be true since we are looking at a bunch of different groups.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 1) 986

I have to admit that this is very similar to my thinking on this. A man that shows you a device whose exact function he refuses to explain that does some miraculous thing is always to be suspected. History is full of such conmen. Just watch an episode of “Mysteries at the Museum” and odds are it will feature at least one of them. The sad fact is that no matter what the researchers find we can’t trust it unless he allows them full and unfettered access to the entirety of the process. Allows them to see the entire apparatus explains how it works and allows them to test it in a setting completely outside of his control. Better yet if he wants us to believe this he should hand these scientist the plans and let them assemble their own machine from parts not sourced from him and let them test it. If he is worried about his technology he should have them sign very strong non-disclosure agreements and non-compete agreements. Setting up a test where they just monitor the outcomes isn’t a valid test due to the potential for fraud. His current behavior comes off as the behavior of a conman. If he isn’t a conman he would be well advised to stop acting like one and allow some real testing of his machine. Nothing would make me happier than to find he’s just a paranoid fool who made a world changing discovery. I am just not betting on it.

Comment: Re:Trading Freedom for Security? (Score 4, Interesting) 264

by usuallylost (#48082177) Attached to: Brits Must Trade Digital Freedoms For Safety, Says Crime Agency Boss

Just from reading these articles over the years, watching the news and my general observations I think their motivations are fairly clear. Powerful entrenched economic interests such as the entertainment industry, news media and financial industry all feel threatened by the freewheeling ways of the Internet. Those interests are demanding action from the government to protect their economic models. Governments fear terrorists. In some ways they fear them more than the public does as nothing motivates politicians more than preserving their power and position. None of them want to be the one that didn’t foil the next big attack. Governments also fear the free flow of information among the public. That fear manifests in places like China with the Great Firewall and similar technologies deployed in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia. It also manifests in things like so many countries attempting to develop things like ability to turn off the Internet. In the Western countries it seems to be manifesting as this desire to monitor everything and everyone. My gut feeling on this is that their proposed strategies for dealing with these things do more harm than good. I guess that is not surprising in my view considering fear, especially irrational fear, is not a good basis for developing public policy.

Comment: Re:I'm gonna go with (Score 2) 200

by usuallylost (#47995625) Attached to: Why India's Mars Probe Was So Cheap

As a general rule I agree that the US Bureaucracy is surprisingly honest. In my experience most corruption in US projects doesn’t come from the bureaucracy but from congress. US government procurement rules are designed to pay off the various political power blocks associated with darned near every person in congress. The rank and file government employees know it is corrupt but they have to follow the law as written. For some items these rules very likely double the cost.

Comment: Re:Australia voted... for a kick in the nuts. (Score 2) 212

by usuallylost (#47992125) Attached to: Australian Senate Introduces Laws To Allow Total Internet Surveillance

We have been watching these sorts of things come out of Australia for years. The labor government was at least as bad about it with their black lists and various censorship schemes. In the article also notice that the bill has the support of both the conservative government and the labor establishment. So blaming this on the conservatives seems questionable. A more accurate assessment is that the Australian government is just prone to this sort of behavior. As for as I can see there is no party, other than the greens, who are really against this stuff in Australia.

We have the same problem in the US. The Republicans passed the Patriot act and the Democrats have embraced and expanded it. The sad fact is that people in power benefit from very strong intelligence services and powerful state apparatus. The fact that these things can harm the public doesn’t seem to enter into the equation.

Comment: Re:Mind boggling (Score 1) 167

by usuallylost (#47982407) Attached to: Now That It's Private, Dell Targets High-End PCs, Tablets

I wouldn’t go so far as to say shareholders are shortsighted. It really depends upon who your shareholders are. If your shareholders are hedge funds or people like Carl Icahn then they are as you describe. If your shareholders are individuals or things like pension funds with long time horizons they frequently don’t think that way. I think, in my case anyway, I tend to view it as you describe most of the time because the shortsighted investors are the ones we see the most in the news. They are the ones destroying companies or making obviously bad decisions that get into the press. The other kind of investors don’t make it into the news and you never hear about the companies that are just chugging along for generations.

My fear is that the shortsighted shareholders are becoming more prevalent. Though I don’t have any proof of that other than the general trend of the news. The problem is the news often provides a false view. If you listen to the news, for example, you’d think violent crime is running wild. Yet the statistics are that violent crime is way down. It just looks like it is running wild because of the 24 hour news cycle where every bad thing in the country gets reported over and over again. I wonder whether we are seeing a similar phenomenon with financial news where the actions of the bad players are being magnified because of the 24 hour news cycle.

Comment: Re:RT.com? (Score 2, Insightful) 540

by usuallylost (#47879723) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Fascism is not "a form of capitalism" it is another form of socialism. The difference is that that under communism the means of production are outright owned by the state where as under fascism the preserve the illusion of individual, i.e. capitalism style, ownership. Actual economic control economic control under Fascism is actually state controlled. So it is not accurate to claim that Fascism is a form of capitalism it is more accurate to say it is a variation of Socialism. Just as Communism and the post war European economies are all variations of Socialism.

As whether Communism requires tyranny it would seem that in practice it does. Simply because there are no examples where both Communism and freedom have co-existed for any significant period of time. From the evidence of what has happened it would appear that the level of control required by Communism, and Fascism for that matter, is simply unachievable without coercion. Entire populations simply don’t like surrendering complete control over their lives to the government. So no matter how high minded the Communist authorities start out they invariably have to adopt tyrannical policies in order to enact their program. Simply because there are always too many people who do not want it to enact it any other way.

Where Socialism has managed to exist without becoming a tyranny is in places like Europe. Where they adopt a limited amount of Socialism but still allow people to pretty much live as they like. Socialism without freedom and a certain amount of Capitalism ends up in tyranny. Capitalism without a certain amount regulation and government intervention, i.e. Socialism, ends up in a different kind of tyranny. Fascism and Communism are just variations on the same theme and both invariably lead to tyranny.

Comment: Re:This does not bother me (Score 1) 237

by usuallylost (#47815669) Attached to: Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

Whether you have to drive around a military base depends upon where you are. Here there are several large military installations in and around a densely populated metro area. One of the main roads goes by not one but two of them. There simply isn’t a realistic way to avoid them here. I’d have to drive 50 miles or more out of my way every day to avoid them. Even then half the metro area would be off limits to me. So whatever they are doing I am pretty much going to have to accept it because I am probably driving into and out of their area 10 times a day. So I am really hoping it is just for base security.

Comment: Re:No, it wasn't. (Score 1) 463

Depends upon the circumstances. When I was in high school I knew a guy who had a fairly serious alcohol problem. One night he had gotten drunk and was walking along the side of the road and just staggered into traffic at the wrong moment and got run down. The woman that hit him was just driving along and he just stepped in front of her. Under those circumstances it was just a terrible tragedy. There were no charges of any kind for the woman.

Comment: Re:Not Very Prepared (Score 2) 191

by usuallylost (#47746723) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Prior to 2011 there had not been a significant earthquake in my area for a bit over 100 years. When the quake hit in 2011 what we discovered is that pretty much nobody was prepared for an earthquake. Fortunately the damage was mostly restricted to building damage. In particular we have a lot of masonry structures in Virginia and some of them got damaged. The front steps to my house suffered some cracking and the sidewalk is not at a slight angle that wasn’t there before the quake. I am eventually going to have to get that fixed.

I do have some general emergency supplies. Water, good radio, good flashlights, fresh batteries, a supply of medications, and some food that doesn’t require cooking. Things which are useful in any emergency but which could also service in an earthquake if needed. That stuff came in handy in 2012 when we had a Derecho come through. That took out power, phones (both mobile and land line), knocked down trees and uprooted the sign at the Wendy's. Some people were without power for over a week from that.

Comment: Re:Source is HVAC Contractors (Score 1) 303

by usuallylost (#47719731) Attached to: Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical

I had an old HVAC system replaced in my house a few years ago. The contractor went to great pains to carefully pump out the old coolant before decommissioning the system. He told me that in my state if you get caught not doing it you can lose your license and incur significant fines. Perhaps your area simply doesn’t have the kind of enforcement mine does? Still from the article the amount being released is equaling 30% of the peak from before the ban. So while illegal dumping and venting may account for some of it I doubt it is all of it. My guess is we are going to find that some country is using it on a fairly sizable industrial scale. Based on their record of doing things like still using asbestos even though it is known to kill people I would look at India. That or some rogue country like North Korea.

Comment: Re:china did it (Score 1) 303

by usuallylost (#47719619) Attached to: Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical

The history of China is that their government tends view their citizens as cheap expendable assets. If pollution related illnesses don’t kill them in inconvenient numbers they are willing to accept the impacts of the pollution. At least as long as those impacts fall on the general population and not the elites. I suspect you’ll find the elites have taken steps to protect themselves. Things like filtered water and air in their residences and offices etc. As far as the general public goes their real concern is that they are kept placid so what they are looking for is a scape goat to focus public anger on. So when people complain about pollution they trot out “evil people in the west did it”. Since they control the media and it is a police state ridiculous statements like that can pretty much stand mostly unchallenged.

Comment: Re:Dammit! Adam you rolled over... (Score 3, Insightful) 63

by usuallylost (#47702959) Attached to: Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

The reason I say it is a silver lining is that the money Adam Carolla lost is mostly crowd funded money. So a lot of people lost $20 each. The trolls didn't bankrupt him, it appears that they didn't succeed in forcing him to pay and they very likely lost ~$500,000 out of pocket. So for the trolls this is a net loss. Depriving them of funds, generating publicity for the cause and having them fail at their goals are all good things. Not as good as winning an outright victory but better than losing to them.

Lawyers as a general rule are loath to see anything that generates legal activity go away. No matter how abusive of the system it is. Just look at how much money lawyers spend defeating any measure that might be construed as tort reform. Still at the end of the day when a lawyer is being paid, assuming the lawyer isn't a crook, they generally act in their client's interests or at least within the confines of the client's instructions. From the point of view of the individual lawyers involved the very best thing that could happen is this case drags on for years and they get to bill a lot more hours. A case like this is a gravy train for lawyers and now it is ending.

Comment: Re:Dammit! Adam you rolled over... (Score 4, Interesting) 63

by usuallylost (#47702217) Attached to: Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

It would have been great for him to invalidate their patent. I can however see where the economics of it might not work. Especially considering that the trial was occurring in a venue considered friendly to trolls. It sounds like he, and his legal team, made a calculation and figured that they were going to spend a lot more money with no certainty that the court would do the right thing. Also with no certainty that they would be able to recover any of their non-trivial legal fees. I can see where he would decide it was time to cut his losses. The silver lining here is that if he spent over $500,000 odds are they ended up spending something similar. So this whole endeavor has likely been a big money loser for them.

Comment: Encourage over fishing? (Score 4, Interesting) 180

by usuallylost (#47693979) Attached to: Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives

I agree that eating the invasive fish is a good idea. After all if we didn't put catch limits, and encourage catch and release, on the normal game fish people would have fished them to extinction. So really all we have to do is convince people they are good eating and then make no efforts to protect the invasive fish. My guess is once it gets going people will gleefully over fish them. Just have to make sure people stick to the undesirable fish.

I don't know about lion fish but both Asian carp and northern snakeheads are good to eat. They eat Asian carp extensively in China and the northern snakehead is commonly consumed in Thailand. I have seen them for sale in markets where the northern snakehead was stuffed with what looked like lemon grass, other herbs and covered in a layer of salt and then grilled. I never tried it simply because I am not keen on fish.

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