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Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 2) 261

by west (#48137785) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

I too have initial + last name@gmail.com and get a fair amount of misdirected email. I make some effort to find the right address (had to call someone who accidentally had her cell phone bills sent to me... Happened about 2 weeks after the XKCD cartoon.)

But I don't assume laziness, stupidity or malice when someone uses the wrong address. It's just a mistake. And people are almost always grateful when you help correct their mistake.

It must be a miserable world where everyone else's mistakes are due to critical character flaws. You have my sympathies.

Comment: Re:Research (Score 2) 165

by west (#48122279) Attached to: How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

It's no one's fault, really, it's just that newspapers are obsolete.

I'd in general agree.

Unfortunately, low reportage is correlated with a mass of social ills (increase corruption for one), so I suspect this development is not welfare-improving in the long run.

On the other hand, we do save a few bucks each month.

Comment: Re:Research (Score 1) 165

by west (#48122275) Attached to: How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

I'd strongly disagree. You can never be certain something is accurately reported. However, you can spend more and more money to lessen the chance that it's inaccurately reported.

The more I pay (along with several million others - I alone won't cut it), the more fact checking the papers can afford, and the higher their level of accuracy, as long as readers value accuracy.

Comment: Re:Research (Score 1) 165

by west (#48122261) Attached to: How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

I like my Piketty just fine, but boy that's out of context.

Newspapers are struggling to stay alive, not returning vast amounts on the capital rather than the labor...

Tell any news organization (start with your community paper!) that in depth reporting is an inconsequential part of their budget. But I'd advise doing it over the phone. You can hang up more quickly when the tirade starts :-).

Comment: Re:Research (Score 4, Insightful) 165

by west (#48121139) Attached to: How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

I know the popular narrative: It's somebody else's fault: greedy executives! greedy politicians! greedy everybody else but me!

But I find that that I can trace many ills back to where they probably belong: me and my ilk.

I want my news for free, and am unwilling to pay what it costs for pure hard news coverage. It was all nice when classified ads happened to pay for much of for my news fix, and paper subscribers the rest, but since they stopped subsidising my mooching, I don't feel I have the right to expect other people to work for free, just because I'm too cheap and would rather spend my money elsewhere.

I'm not going to tell other people they need to take a pay cut for my benefit when I'm not willing to fork over the $30 or $40 a month that is what's needed from millions of people for proper coverage.

No one is eating my lunch. It just isn't free.

Comment: Re:Research (Score 1) 165

by west (#48120965) Attached to: How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

Also inaccurate, unless you have a suggestion to how to get reliable background information on 5-7 stories a day, every single day. Any reporter who does the amount of background work you seem to expect is going to last a few days at most.

Get used to modern reporting. The less people are willing to pay for news, the more news a reporter has to produce each day to cover their salary.

There is no free lunch.

Comment: Re:The water wars are coming (Score 1) 151

by west (#48041373) Attached to: Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

There are other factors in this situation as pointed out just above, but as far as your comment goes, you are *exactly* right.

Almost every condition of existence is a mitigated disaster.

The very existence of a modern society has caused untold destruction on the environment. However, the fact that we like being alive is presumably a good that makes our existence a "mitigated disaster".

So, yes, I'd call a mitigated disaster much better. In fact, that's the best you can hope for, aside from pretending the people who feel it's a disaster don't count.

After all, *everything* has a cost.

Comment: Re:The water wars are coming (Score 3, Insightful) 151

by west (#48037709) Attached to: Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

Not to be too contrarian, but before we declare this an unmitigated disaster, shouldn't the cost of the destruction of the Aral sea be measured against the benefits of provided by the water that used to flow into it?

I have no idea of the numbers, but if we're talking about the 100,000 people having their livelihood destroyed and their environment destroyed so that millions can proper elsewhere, that might seem to be a fair trade-off to the government.

After all, I'm a North American, so unless I'm a huge hypocrite and also view North America as an unmitigated disaster, I have admit that the prosperity of my nation has only been achieved by the wholesale destruction of many others (the Native Americans).

There are *always* trade-offs. Unless we've got an accounting of both the costs and the benefits, who's to say the Aral sea decision was a failure?

Comment: Re:f**k nvidia... (Score 3, Funny) 192

by west (#48009373) Attached to: NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images

Nonsense, it's not on Nvidia to stop fake cards, its on law enforcement.

Actually, if it cuts their into sales because purchasing NVidia is perceived as risky, then it makes complete commercial sense to make changes to protect people who think they're purchasing NVidia. It's straight dollars and cents.

Now perhaps NVidia is only using this as an excuse to launch their evil conspiracy, but as excuses go, it's completely legit.

(And while I'd love to make fun of you for the evil conspiracy business, the NSA's actual shenanigans have made that impossible. When the utterly improbable has turned out to be true, the completely ridiculous now becomes only highly unlikely...)

Comment: Re:Agreed (Score 1) 167

by west (#47834723) Attached to: Scientists Sequence Coffee Genome, Ponder Genetic Modification

Nature has already perfected coffee, just as nature has already perfected ALL of the foods we eat. No amount of genetic engineering can make food taste better than hundreds of thousands of years of co-evolution (between plant and animal). The notion is absurd. And no, selective breeding is NOT the same thing as genetic engineering.

Um, evolution in most plants is "trying to make them taste BAD", otherwise, they... get eaten.

Nature's evolutionary "perfection", as a human might define it, would be a plant that replaces every living thing on the planet.

Of course, in reality evolution has no "goal". It is not "trying" anything. Producing something that is more fit is no more a "goal" of evolution than having a boulder roll downhill is a "goal" of gravity. Evolution is the simple outcome of the mathematics of self-replicating systems.

Comment: Re:Don't worry, Uber et all will end up regulated. (Score 1) 218

by west (#47590101) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

I completely agree with everything you say. My point is that for relatively rare, non-costly (i.e. non-headline grabbing) events, the public will demand regulation, even if the only effect is incumbent protection.

If a bad thing happens, and there is no regulation, then that's negligence in the eyes of the voter. If a bad thing happens and there's regulation that makes sense to the voter (even if it has no effect on safety), then that's simply bad luck.

The "meta" part, is that like a placebo, ineffective regulation, while having a cost, also has a benefit. Simply feeling safer makes people happier, and for relatively rare events, that's going to be the dominant effect almost all the time,

Comment: Don't worry, Uber et all will end up regulated.. (Score 2) 218

by west (#47588997) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

When enough consumers have a "bad experience" with anything vaguely taxi-like, there will be demand that anything that looks of feels like a taxi be regulated to ensure minimal levels of safety and service.

Sure, perfect information is out there, but that takes effort. Measure the cost of regulation vs. the cost of determining reputation and you'll find that the populace goes for regulation every time. They want to be able to call anything cab-like and be safe. They want to eat in anything restaurant-like and be safe.

Even if it doesn't significantly increase safety, it doesn't really matter. The feeling of being protected by government regulation increases happiness significantly enough that regulation is pretty much whole-heartedly endorsed by most of the population.

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